Project Showcase : MultiCare Tacoma General Hospital

Creating a healthy, quiet environment was key for MultiCare integrated health organization's Tacoma campus.

Building a Hospital to the Highest Performing
Acoustical Standards

Project Summary

MultiCare is a leading-edge, integrated health organization made up of four hospitals. A not-for-profit organization since 1882 and based in Tacoma, Washington, MultiCare is the area’s largest provider of healthcare services, serving patients at 93 locations in Pierce, South King, Kitsap and Thurston counties.

MultiCare partnered with architectural firm Giffin Bolte Jurgens on a substantial new 200,000 sq. ft., five floor addition to their campus in Tacoma, Washington. The addition makes MultiCare one of the largest emergency departments in the Northwest and also includes a new cancer center.

Diagnosis: Hospitals Are Noisy

High noise levels in a hospital setting can not only negatively impact patients quality of sleep, blood pressure levels, and recovery time, but can also compromise patient confidentiality if conversations are inadvertently overheard. When it comes to patient health, comfort, and privacy, effective sound control is a design requirement that should not be compromised in any healthcare environment. Designing with high Sound Transmission Class (STC) performance and implementation standards is essential to any healthcare environment.

“We looked at Washington State regulatory codes and AIA guidelines and decided to use the AIA guidelines since they are the more stringent. We want to be sure to build to the highest performing acoustical standards,” said Pat Young, architect with Giffin Bolte Jurgens.

The Quiet® Solution

Giffin Bolte Jurgens specified QuietRock for use in a variety of applications throughout the building to meet high STC ratings and maximize construction space. “We knew we had a requirement to keep an 8 ft. space in certain hallways and quickly realized that you burn through an extra inch with a traditional 5/8″ double hung design. That adds up over the course of the building,” said Young.

Poorly designed acoustic healthcare environments prevent effective communication between patients and staff as well as between staff members which may compromise patient safety and maximum health. For MultiCare’s patients, Giffin Bolte Jurgens’ acoustic design quality also yielded a more attractive and serene environment to reduce patient recovery time and maximize overall comfort.

“We understood QuietRock is a premium product and would save us a lot of headaches and hassle” said Young. “A single layer installation’s one-step process also means there’s less labor involved, which makes quite a difference. We saved space, got the high sound requirement we needed, and cut down on the labor and construction time involved.”

MultiCare achieved several benefits by using QuietRock which include:

  • Noise Damping – Expected to meet stringent AIA acoustic requirement guidelines and Washington State regulations
  • Project Efficiency – Single layer installation vs. a double layer or other noise reducing designs saved construction time, materials, labor, and overall costs
  • Saves Space – The project required 8 foot hallways. Traditional multi-layer noise reducing design options take up precious additional floor space
  • Mold Resistance – It was necessary to put up some of the drywall before the building was sealed. In the Pacific Northwest, moisture is always an issue. Vulnerable patients cannot be exposed to mold.
  • Durability – QuietRock 528* with fiberglass is perfect for use in hallways where heavy gurneys wreak havoc on walls

*Note: QuietRock 528 is no longer available.