Health Technical Memoranda explained
The Health Technical Memoranda, otherwise known as HTM, are NHS engineering specifications; government guidance documents that are incredibly important to public safety, in the delivery of healthcare. They relate specifically to any specialist building or engineering technology used in healthcare settings, including but not limited to hospitals.
gov.uk describes the HTMs as follows:
‘Health Technical Memoranda (HTMs) give comprehensive advice and guidance on the design, installation and operation of specialised building and engineering technology used in the delivery of healthcare.’
The focus of the memoranda is on the healthcare specific aspects of the standards and policies that technology must be compliant with. There is an additional guidance around best practice, in relation to each area. They are invaluable in the construction of new sites and refurbishment of existing sites. They are also applicable at various points throughout the entire lifecycle of a building, including during cleaning and maintenance.
HTM 03 01 explained
HTM 03 01 relates to ventilation. The full description of this guidance point is HTM 03 01 Specialised Ventilation for Healthcare Premises. It sets out the design and validation standards for ventilation systems that are used in healthcare settings, in the UK.
HTM 03 01 compliance
To be compliant with HTM 03 01 Specialised Ventilation for Healthcare Premises, air handling units must meet minimum design criteria in a number of areas. The focus is on the ability to keep these units clean, to ensure that bacteria does not build up and that systems can be properly managed, according to best practice. As such there is guidance to ensure safe access, so that routine inspections of the air handling unit can take place easily and adequately. There is also guidance for the control of bacteria. VSS specialises in the healthcare sector. Our expert team has undertaken HTM compliance work for a number of health trusts across the UK.
Compliance with HTM 03 01 requires a system to be installed with rigorous adherence to the guidance. The specified equipment must meet minimum requirements. These include:
- Stainless steel drain trays must be positioned under positive pressure
- Access must be possible both up and downstream of all components, for the purpose of maintenance
- The units themselves should be sized to ensure a maximum coil and filter velocity of 2m³/s
And there are many more points in addition to these. As such, it’s important when having an air handling unit installed, extended or repaired in a healthcare setting, to use experienced engineers familiar with HTM 03 01 to ensure compliance. Everything from the specified equipment to the design of the system has implications.
Of course, on an ongoing basis, proper cleaning and maintenance of the AHU, in line with guidance, legislation and best practice, will also play an important part in maintaining proper air quality within a building and compliance to these guidelines. Our experience across a range of medical and other healthcare settings allows us to advise on the best approaches to cleaning and ongoing maintenance, to ensure clean air and HTM 03 01 compliance.