Construction near existing hospital facilities has the potential to adversely affect sensitive equipment and activities. General contractors often employ vibration monitors around the construction site to protect neighboring buildings from vibration-related damage. 

For sensitive equipment, however, the vibration levels of concern can be more than 100 times lower than those associated with even minor cosmetic building damage. 

In such cases, more sophisticated monitoring systems are necessary to measure and assess the potential adverse effects of construction-related vibration. 

Vibration sensitive equipment, like electron microscopes and MRIs, typically have very detailed vibration criteria that are often frequency dependent (the allowable level varies depending on the frequency of the vibration). 

Again, sophisticated systems are needed to evaluate the vibrations at multiple frequencies at the same time. 

Widely available remote desktop software has made it possible to place these sophisticated monitoring systems in the field and to monitor the vibration remotely in near real time. With an Internet connection, it is also possible to send alarm messages by text or email when the criterion limits are exceeded, allowing the contractor to adjust means and methods to reduce the offending vibration. 

During times when the vibrations are within safe limits, the monitoring systems can provide peace of mind to researchers and staff in the facility. 

Jeffrey Zapfe, PhD, is the President of Acentech. He can be reached at For more information about Acentech, visit