Page 82 - BusinessWest May 2, 2022
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         Craig and Pat Sweitzer say the dental practice owner is closely involved in the design process from the start.
in from underneath. After much more effort, the crew was able to install the necessary lines in the right places.
“I wasn’t worried before about someone tun- neling into my practice,” Martinelli said jokingly. “And I sleep well at night knowing I’m protected from that now.”
The thick floors didn’t slow down the project too much, but as Pat Sweitzer noted, coordinat- ing schedules with the medical supplier is an important part of the process. “The whole project
piration,” he said. “With lower vents, any pathogens are direct- ed down to the floor instead of into the provider’s face.”
Martinelli appreciated that she had the opportunity to install a new HVAC system to deal with COVID and any other airborne maladies. At the same time, she saw her colleagues struggle to find answers on how to retrofit their offices to mitigate risks and improve air quality.
By purchasing this unit, it saved us from ripping out the ceiling and replacing the entire ventilation system. That would have been absolutely disruptive.”
“By purchasing this unit, it saved us from ripping out the ceiling and replacing the entire ventilation system. That would have
been absolutely disruptive.
is orchestrated for our crews to finish their work just as the medical equipment and the installers are available.”
As a general contractor, Sweitzer Construction is well-acquainted with the difficulties of stick- ing to schedules during the pandemic, not to mention recent price increases for raw materials. Lumber is the most notable building material to see wild price increases of up to 250%. Craig said he does not use much lumber, but instead uses steel studs to frame walls in his commercial proj- ects. Still, he noted that steel has begun catching up to lumber in price and difficulty to get when it’s needed.
“We order materials long before we need them and then hope they arrive somewhere around the time we are ready to use them,” he explained. “It takes our office staff much more effort to make sure materials get here on time.”
Go with the Flow
When the pandemic first hit, air flow inside buildings suddenly became an essential con- sideration, especially in healthcare facilities. Sweitzer and the HVAC subcontractors who work with his company began to study how to design new systems and retrofit old ones to keep every- one safe.
Whether COVID-19 had existed or not, Mar- tinelli knew she would have to replace the entire HVAC system in her building. Sweitzer and Mark Edwards from M&E Mechanical Contractors, the HVAC subcontractor for the project, installed a state-of-the-art negative-air system for all the operatories at Shire City Endo. Sweitzer explained it as a system that captures pathogens in the air which are immediately pulled out of the room
by an exhaust fan before they can spread. In the past, operatories often had exhaust vents in the ceiling. The standard now is to locate these lower on the wall.
“Dentists and hygienists work in people’s mouths, the main path of res-
 Because Sweitzer and
Edwards had been so helpful
to her, Martinelli coordinated a
Zoom call with the contractors and the Berkshire Dental Society, so dentists could get answers on how to manage air ventilation in their practices.
  “Craig and Mark were great resources to the entire dental community, who had plenty of questions on how to keep their patients and staff safe,” she said.
Pat Sweitzer was on the Zoom call and cred- ited Martinelli for organizing it. “The dentists had done lots of research, and we had done lots of
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  30 MAY 2, 2022

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