NHS – Ninewells Hospital, Dundee

As a response to the recent Global health crisis, Starn Group member, Safehouse identified a need to diversify to assist in any way possible, whilst simultaneously securing the future of its business. As part of Starn Group, Safehouse benefits from almost twenty years’ experience protecting people from the impact of working in hazardous environments. Our expertise in utilizing pressurization for containment within the energy services industries uniquely places us to assist in the fight against COVID-19. Our skills and expertise can be effectively applied to the medical sector.


After conducting extensive research into the guidelines for working within hospital environments and the regulations for applying pressurized rooms to quarantine scenarios, Safehouse came to the conclusion that its equipment, traditionally used to segregate hydrocarbons from ignition sources, would be the ideal temporary solution to help increase the isolation requirements needed to fight COVID-19. By reversing our method of pressurization, we could help to limit the impact COVID-19 would have the normal operations of a hospital and in turn, the general public who were attending the facility for non covid-19-related reasons.


After discussions with the senior leadership team of the medical facility, a group of Starn engineers and one of our business development managers attended to assess requirements. We carried out detailed site surveys on various areas throughout the facility that were identified by the senior leadership team as locations which could potentially benefit from the implementation of an additional control measure. Approximately five days after initial contact with the team, a prototype of our new “SafeRoom” was manufactured and ready for install.


The SafeIPC SafeRoom was developed in collaboration with the local health authority who advised how we could best support its reactive requirements. Firstly, our engineering team identified a robust frame to hold the skin of the SafeRoom to withstand impact from hospital beds/wheelchairs and maintain support under stress in the negatively pressurised environment. The skin included one large door for  access, a smaller door for single person entry/exit and a hatch for passing small equipment through. Additionally, the SafeRoom provides a donning and doffing area for all who enter the room, further increasing infection control measures. The SafeRoom is controlled by a Negative Pressure Unit (NPU) with a HEPA 14 filtration system. Clean air is pulled from the corridor through the SafeRoom. Any air entering the SafeRoom chamber is filtered at the entry and exit points using a G4 particulate filter, this maintains a constant clean air flow. Using this forced air process, a negative environment is created in the SafeRoom chamber and the attached room. Clean air changes are generated at the minimum rate of 10 in the chamber and 12 in the room per hour.

Outcome and benefits

The creation of the SafeIPC SafeRoom and its implementation has facilitated an additional level of control against infectious diseases which can be utilized to mitigate the spread of covid-19 within hospital environments, helping to secure the safety and wellbeing of staff and patients. After being witnessed in use by various individuals, further areas were identified by the team as locations for the SafeRoom to help protect even more patients and staff in other areas of the hospital. Feedback has been very positive from the senior leadership team and from those using the SafeRoom daily. The modular and flexible design of the SafeRoom means it is lightweight easy to install, and bespoke to each location. The semi-permanent nature of the SafeRoom means it can be installed in under one hour and removed and cleaned/stored and re-used when required.