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DIRTT Flex Gas for healthcare environments

Conventional medical gas supply lines in a healthcare facility’s walls are copper. It’s expensive, fixed in place, demands a huge amount of labor on site and changes are a massive hassle.

But all of DIRTT’s solutions are plug and play and quick connect. Why would we put copper piping in our DIRTT walls? It didn’t make sense.  Like most of our innovations at DIRTT, flex gas was borne because one of our healthcare clients challenged us to do better.


DIRTT Flex Gas DIRTT Flex Gas

The idea of flexible hoses for medical gasses is not a new thing. They’ve existed for many years, but typically inside medical booms. So, we re-thought how to use flex gas, as it was already approved in every jurisdiction in the USA. Now we’ve removed the cost of copper piping running through walls with a solution that matched the innovative and flexible nature of building with DIRTT.

Future ready

DIRTT Flex gas still uses a little copper, but only for the risers on the interface consolidation ports where hoses connect. These risers can include more ports than hoses so healthcare designers don’t need to over-design around med gases. There’s typically a lot of redundancy built into a conventional headwall in a hospital because designers can’t know for sure where the patient will need things or the acuity level in the future. Conventional construction will overbuild the headwall, including more than they need today into the wall to accommodate whatever they might need in the future.

Flex gas risers with excess ports Flex gas risers with excess ports

DIRTT, on the other hand, allows you to prepare for changes without overbuilding. And easily expand capacity down the road. In just a matter of minutes. How? Because you don’t have to shut down the system to add capacity to DIRTT’s flex gas system. Add an oxygen line while keeping your unit operational. And with the nature of DIRTT, you don’t need to punch through drywall to make these changes. Wall cavities are easily accessible with the right tool.

Adapt without a shutdown

Today’s owners and architects want their medical facilities to last “100 years”. With the increasing pace of biotech evolution, changing demographics, and modification to services and acuity levels, there is only one way to meet that design goal. Systems must readily accept change. Upgrading MEP systems, equipment, services, and configurations easily, quickly, inexpensively with minimal disruption is the very definition of DIRTT’s future-proofing behavior.

It’s easy to add med gas capacity over time. To expand med gas capacity or move it, the zone of the hospital does not need to be shut down. This is because of the nature of our connections. Flex gas offers an inherent safety automatic shut off for every outlet feed line. Simply disconnecting a hose stops the flow of gas to that outlet and eliminates the need for system shut down. Think about the tire of your car – air doesn’t come out unless you use a tool to release it. It’s a similar concept.

Under a conventional shutdown, several rooms would be rendered unusable for days. Instead, medical facilities are able to continue serving patients while the adjacent room is upgraded.  Flex gas capacity is easily expanded and does not require a certified plumber to make changes*.

With DIRTT Flex Gas, you don’t need to purge, test and recommission med gas lines after a change. You eliminate demolition and reconstruction. There’s no 24-hour pressure test or independent inspection. Downtime for healthcare facilities is minutes, not days – and that means cost savings.

Behind the face tiles of a hospital wall Behind the face tiles of a hospital wall

Safety is the highest priority

We engineered failsafes into the system. Flex gas hoses are industry standard colour-coded. Fittings also have different diameters depending on their gas type, so hoses can’t inadvertently be mixed up. Connectors are Diameter Index Safety System (DISS) standard, so the fittings are physically compatible only with like gases.

Flexible hoses are virtually impossible to penetrate, unlike fixed in place copper, a soft metal that’s easily punctured. We’ve done the nail tests to prove it. And to top it, flex hoses resist leaks 5 times longer than the outlets they service. Flex gas is so resistant to vibration and abuse, that even ambulances use flexible med gas hoses.

Safety during construction is vital too. During your initial build or subsequent upgrades, flames inside the wall for brazed connections are eliminated. Brazing is replaced by quick connections and premanufacturing.

Inside a DIRTT healthcare wall Inside a DIRTT healthcare wall

Ready when needed most

DIRTT Flex Gas is safer in seismic regions because of flexibility. Flex Gas will provide life critical services when rigid systems have failed. While a building’s structure, walls and ceilings are engineered to resist the shear forces of an earthquake, water and copper gas lines rigidly connected to the building are the first systems to fail. Flex gas improves life safety when it’s needed most. And if damaged, the system can be brought back online in hours instead of days.

Cost savings

Using DIRTT Flex Gas reduces materials and labor on site. It offers huge cost savings compared to conventional copper piping. You’ll save on expensive labor by not requiring tradespeople’s time to braze on site. You’ll save up-front costs not having the redundancy of gas outlets in the wall when you don’t need it, because it’s easy to change later. And with the nature of DIRTT, you don’t need to punch through drywall to make changes.

Using DIRTT Flex Gas was a no-brainer for cost and coordination

General contractor on a hospital project in Nevada

Design freedom

Flex gas gives you greater design flexibility. Your headwalls aren’t jam-packed with copper piping, alleviating the puzzle of congestion. Hoses are flexible. Outlets can be placed wherever they’re needed, or adapted over time.

Design flexibility for an advanced medical center Design flexibility for an advanced medical center

Code compliant

DIRTT Flex Gas is code compliant in every state in the United States*DIRTT Flex Gas meets the United States compliance requirements of the 2015 NFPA-99 section 5.1.6 & Chapter 13 of the 2015 Uniform Plumbing Code section NS.

Flexible hoses only need to be inspected every 18 months when they’re in articulating booms. When they’re installed in static DIRTT walls, they don’t require inspection any more frequently than the copper alternative would.

Compatible with your standard

We play well with others. Flex gas works with whatever outlet style your facility has standardized on. Regardless of manufacturer.

Compatible with any outlet style Compatible with any outlet style

Lasts as long as your space

Flex gas components can be expected to last 20+ years. A hospital room typically has a life expectancy of 20-30 years before a remodel. And if you need to do maintenance in the meantime? It’s easy to access the system inside DIRTT walls. Maintenance requires a few hours versus a few days.

So how do we build with DIRTT Flex Gas?

DIRTT’s flex gas is unique to DIRTT, so connect with your DIRTT team to use it in your healthcare space. Flex gas is specified in DIRTT’s ICE software as we work with you to design your healthcare space. Details like the configuration of your outlets, length of hoses, location of the manifolds etc. is all captured in ICE. It’s assembled into wall frames in our factories and brought to site, ready for quick connect installation. And it’s all included in DIRTT’s fast lead time.

* Always check with the project’s AHJ (Authority Having Jurisdiction) for any local codes that may affect system and associated labor requirements.

Mike Iannone

With DIRTT since 2005, Mike has worn more than a few hats in prefab construction. He's pushed the envelope on the best ways to use DIRTT in the real world, especially advanced healthcare applications. Mike is now directing DIRTT's Constructability Divison to make sure all our teams have the construction resources they need to support our clients.


DIRTT is a building process powered by technology. We use our proprietary 3D software to help design, manufacture and install fully-customized interior environments. This same software provides clients with certainty around cost, schedule and the final outcome. With modular components and a streamlined construction process, complete interior spaces are constructed faster, cleaner and more sustainably. The Company works with over 75 partners throughout North America. DIRTT trades on Nasdaq under the symbol “DRTT” and on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol “DRT”.