Ceilings shall be easily cleanable and constructed in a manner to
prohibit the passage of particles from the cavity above the ceiling
plane into the clinical environment.
The ceiling construction in infant rooms and adult sleep areas
and the spaces opening onto them shall not be friable and shall have
a noise reduction coefficient (NRC) of at least 0.90 for 80% of the
entire surface area or an average NRC of 0.85 for the whole ceiling
including solid and acoustically absorptive surfaces. To ensure
protection from noise intrusion, ceilings in infant rooms and adult
sleep areas shall be specified with a ceiling articulation class
Finishes shall be free of substances known to be teratogenic,
mutagenic, carcinogenic, or otherwise harmful to human health.
Interpretation: Since sound abatement is a high
priority in the NICU, acoustical ceiling systems are desirable, but
must be selected and designed carefully to meet this standard. In
most NICUs, the ceiling offers the largest available area for sound
absorption. The Standard for ceiling finishes includes areas that
communicate with infant rooms and adult sleep areas (e.g., hallways,
corridors, storage, and staff work areas) when doors are opened in
the course of daily activity.
Ceilings with high acoustical absorption (i.e., high NRC ratings)
do not necessarily have a significant barrier effect (i.e., offer
protection from sounds transmitted between adjacent areas). A CAC-29
provides a moderate barrier effect and allows a broad range of
ceiling products. Poor barrier effects can result if room-dividing
partitions are discontinued above the ceiling allowing room-to-room
cross-talk or if there are noise-producing elements in the ceiling
plenum. If the ceiling plenum contains noise sources such as
fan-powered boxes, in-line exhaust fans, variable air volume
devices, etc. then a higher CAC than CAC-29 may be necessary.
VOCs and PBTs such as cadmium are often found in paints and
ceiling tiles and should be avoided. Specify low- or no-VOC paints