An impressive engineering solution to the problem of vibration enabled new operating rooms for a hospital in the Netherlands to be built above an existing car park.

The Reinier de Graaf Hospital in Delft needed new operating space, but the only area available was above a car park. Vehicles in the car park provide a constant source of vibration, which raised the question of how to design a new operating room there which would not be disturbed by the vibrations. 

The hospital asked Royal HaskoningDHV to solve the puzzle. The solution, developed by our Structural Design and Advanced Technology & Research Centre teams, was efficient and economical. It involved the design of a steel structure on top of spring bearings. By locating the spring bearings at the interface between the car park and operating rooms, vibrations caused by vehicles are filtered out. The spring bearings are tuned to a specific low frequency and vibrations of different higher frequencies are reduced when they pass through. 

Tuning the spring bearings to the correct frequency and identifying the frequencies of the source of the vibrations was key and relied on the expertise of our Advanced Technology & Research Centre. Equally, from the Structural Design perspective, it was important to completely separate the operating rooms from the car park, to ensure that vibrations had to pass through the spring bearings. Through on-site measurements, the vibration levels were determined for the design and monitored during construction. Further measurements were performed to validate the design.

The diversity of requirements and boundary conditions made this a unique design solution to a complex problem. Vibration engineering in combination with structural engineering expertise resulted in an operating room where surgeries can be performed without hindrance from vibrations from the car park below. 

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Nils Roovers

Consulting Engineer Structural Design / Associate Director

NL, Amsterdam

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