Contour: Design Considerations For High Secure Mental Health Units

  • 14 Jun 2021

Due to the vulnerability of the individuals using Psychiatric Intensive Care Units (PICUs), furniture, fixtures, fittings and appliances must maintain safety standards and to provide a comfortable environment for all service users. Here, Contour runs through the design considerations you’ll need to ensure a safe environment for those using a PICU…

Up for discussion

 – Anti-ligature features
 – Strength and durability
 – Hygiene considerations


Anti-Ligature Solutions For High-Secure Mental Health Hospitals

Anger, fear, and confusion could be behaviours of individuals in PICUs, which is why anti-ligature products are a key consideration.

Radiators and air conditioning (AC) guards within PICUs ought to be extremely difficult for an individual to use the appliance as a ligature risk.

Whilst ligature risks do take place above head height, studies show around 50% of hanging suicides are not fully suspended. Ligature points below head level are common.

These points may come from less obvious places, like a radiator or an AC unit.

No gaps or joints

Contour recommends there be no gaps or joints within heating solutions and for grilles to be IP3X compliant to avoid anything being tied between them.

Having bull-nosed, rounded corners and no sharp edges also needs consideration to avoid harm to individuals and other service users.

Durability For High-Secure Mental Health Environments

Vandalism may be an occurrence within PICUs. These acts of vandalism can lead to individuals destructing furniture to create ‘weak points. So, it’s essential to search for a radiator guard or AC unit that’s strong and robust to withstand such damage.

Zintec steel material is a strong solution to protect heating solutions from vandalism, destruction, and corrosion. For ultimate durability, Contour recommends Zintec steel in gauges between 1.5mm-3mm.

Hygiene Considerations For PICUs

PICU radiators and air conditioning guards must have easy access for cleaning and maintenance, to ensure hygiene is assured for each service user.


For maximum hygiene, Contour introduces BioCote® at the production stage, to offer protection against various microbes such as bacteria, mould, and some viruses. This is essential when working, to keep all service users safe in high-secure environments.


Contour’s anti-ligature solutions come with IP3X grilles, to guarantee the reduction of ligature risks within PICUs.

With features such as, bull-nosed corners, rounded edges, no sharp points, and being made with Zintec steel, the radiators and AC units are solid and robust to avoid harm to all service users.

Zintec is available in different gauges between 1.5mm-3mm – suitable for all environments.

The introduction of BioCote® anti-microbial protection at the manufacturing stage helps drive hygiene further. 

This unique, patented additive provides an effective, safe and long-lasting solution to combatting a wide range of dangerous bacteria, including MRSA and E.coli.

About Contour

Contour produces a range of innovative, safe surface temperature systems for healthcare, education, mental health, commercial and secure sectors, working in close partnership and collaborating with architects, M&E engineers, NHS Trusts, local authorities and contractors to deliver outstanding safe heating solutions.

For more information, visit

Contour can be contacted at;
The Mansions
43 Broadway
TF11 8BB
Tel: 01952 290 498
Email: [email protected]

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