Mission Critical MEP/FP design for MRI Suites

Focus on the electrical, fire protection, and plumbing considerations when designing MRI suites.


An MRI scanner produces a radio frequency (RF) signal that must be protected from interference. Alternating current (ac) power has been known to result in RF interference and distortion of images. MRI room-lighting fixtures use direct current (dc) power. Lighting levels should be carefully reviewed.

RF shield
RF shields are typically thin sheets of copper foil, aluminum, or galvanized steel that cover floors, ceilings, doors, and windows in an MRI magnet room. Any penetrations into RF-shielded areas (HVAC, power, exhaust, plumbing, and piping) pass through RF filters or wave guides. Since ferromagnetic materials can interfere with MRI operations, all ductwork, hangers, and supports within the RF shield must be nonferrous.

Emergency power and UPS
Individual hospitals, along with the building code, determine the type of emergency power MRI equipment will need in the event of a power outage. Hospitals frequently use uninterrupted power supply (UPS) systems to maintain constant power to equipment during an outage or when transferring from one source to another. The UPS helps maintain power when switching to and from generator-backed power.

Plumbing and fire protection systems
MRI suites require unique plumbing and fire protection systems to meet the facility’s health and safety needs while also accommodating the equipment’s distinct specifications.

Designing plumbing systems around an MRI magnet room without interfering with sensitive equipment is particularly challenging. Water and drain lines must be installed in a way that will not interfere with the RF shield including passing through RF wave guides and dielectric breaks.

Fire protection
All sprinkler system components in MRI rooms must be constructed of nonferrous materials (copper, brass, and stainless steel are common). Careful consideration should be made for piping in adjacent spaces.

FXB Engineering MEP


Critical Power Systems Upgrade
Purpose: To replace end of life Critical Power Infrastructure and to improve overall reliability and maintainability of critical power systems.

Highlights: Replace 800kW Rotary UPS with two (2) new redundant 1100kW UPS systems. Replace (3) 750kW generators with (3) 1500 kW generators and paralleling switchgear. Phased project to allow for one complete UPS system to be installed, tested and fully commissioned prior to removing the existing system.

Time frame & Budget:
Phase I was completed in 2012; Phase II finished in 2015. Project stayed on budget at $9.9 million.



Purpose: To replace end of life mechanical equipment for critical facility and improve overall reliability and control.Highlights: Replace air cooled chillers, pumps & complete piping systems. Three (3) new 275 ton chillers. Three (3) new wet cell cooling towers. Phased project to allow for the new chiller plant to be installed, tested and fully commissioned while the existing mechanical equipment remained in place.

Project: Completed in 2014.
Project budget: $11 million

FXB Engineering MEP


Client: Base Station Hotels, Transit Wireless, Manhattan, NY
Purpose: MEP improvements to mission critical data center.  
Highlights: Transit Wireless recently completed the build out of its wireless and Wi-Fi network in all 30 of the MTA’s underground subway stations in the borough. FXB provided MEP for 5,000 – 6,000 s.f  fit-outs for communication equipment and A&E documentation.

Project: Completed in 2012, 2014 and 2015.
Project budget: $7.4 million

Portfolio Items