What are differences in Healthcare Construction?

What Are Differences in Healthcare Construction?

The construction of healthcare facilities and medicals centers poses a unique set of challenges for construction companies. Planning is an important aspect of ensuring that the construction process runs smoothly and that no issues arise with the layout of the building in terms of maximizing workflow. Some healthcare construction industry laws and codes must be followed strictly to create a healthy environment for healthcare facilities to operate out of in their day to day operations.

ASHE: American Society Of Hospital Engineers

The American Society of Hospital Engineers is an association for construction professionals like architects, general contractors, designers, and developers who work specifically in hospital construction. Members of ASHE are part of an association dedicated to improving and maintaining standards for the building of hospitals and healthcare facilities. The projects they work ambulatory buildings, outpatient clinics, acute care facilities, medical office buildings, medical centers, doctors’ offices, cancer centers, emergency departments, community health centers, and other medical facilities. Usually, they have patient care in mind when building these facilities and years of healthcare construction experience.

The Virginia chapter of ASHE is called VSHE, or the Virginia Society Of Hospital Engineers, and includes the Hamptons Roads region. Healthcare professionals, construction professionals including contractors, and students are all members of VSHE.

Thorough Planning Is An Essential Part of Successful Healthcare Construction

Many areas of planning must be addressed when starting a healthcare construction project. Whether or not the facility is federally or privately owned is one thing that construction companies must take into consideration when beginning a healthcare construction project as there may be different laws to apply to the building depending on who owns it.

The specific building materials should also be designed for healthcare facility construction. Having a team which understands healthcare design needs and has healthcare construction expertise also are indicators that a project will be successful.

Air quality is one of the most important aspects of building a healthy environment for a healthcare facility to prevent the airborne spread of disease. For this reason, ventilation and air purification should be a priority for the building engineers during the planning process.

Communication with all parties, such as the architect, contractor, construction manager, any other project managers and vendors, is necessary to make the planning of the building successful. There should also be good communication between the contractor and the healthcare facility manager. With information sharing technology communication between parties is easier than ever, even remotely. Communication can make or break a construction project.

Other things to take into consideration when planning a healthcare building are the size of the building, the fire resistance and emergency exits, and planning the electrical systems to be most efficient in terms of handling the challenge of powering the healthcare equipment. Building a new hospital, for example, might be more work if the design is different than if you’re building a replacement hospital that looks the exact same as the other one. Upgrades and renovations will usually rake less time and demand less expertise, though for surgery centers and other healthcare facilities than need state-of-the-art features, renovations should be done by qualified experts.

Any successful facility should also have an emergency exit plan, including an exit to the building that can be accessed from any of the rooms in the building. Most workplaces require there to be at least two points of exit, and there should be a continuous path that will allow the personnel to efficiently evacuate in the case of an emergency. The exact number of needs exits is usually determined by square feet, though regulations differ from one state to another.

Workflow and Floor Plan Optimization

The floor plan of the building should be optimized for the smoothest workflow for the healthcare providers to serve their patients. It should be easy to access the different branches of the facility from a core area of the building. The building should flow seamlessly between the different areas so that healthcare workers waste the least amount of time getting around to the waiting room, offices, and equipment rooms.

Constructing a privately owned healthcare clinic or office is an evolving business. It is no longer beneficial to plan the building only around maximum occupancy at the potential cost of the patient outcomes. It is more important to both the service providers and patients that the facility promotes a productive healing environment that leads to patient satisfaction. The goal is to quickly get patients in and for them to leave out healthy by structuring the environment for providing the best possible care.

Sustainable and Core Based

Basing the building plan around the core functionality of the facility will ensure that the workflow of the providers of the patients is the most efficient and effective. Having a core to the facility and strategically placed branches is a proven method of an effective healthcare facility plan.

Powering all of the equipment for the facility is another challenge that construction companies must thoughtfully plan out and execute for the most cost-efficient and sustainable outcome. The kind of healthcare equipment used and the necessary electricity needed to power it should be addressed in the initial planning of the building.

There are many ways to make a healthcare construction project more eco-friendly through sustainable building practices such as modern insulation techniques and modern adaptations such as solar power panels.

Carlton Building Services in Hampton Roads, Virginia

Carlton Building Services specializes in repairs, maintenance, renovations, remodelings and build-outs for a variety of clients in Hampton Roads, Virginia Beach, and Chesapeake areas. We have years of experience handling projects in the retail, office, and healthcare space and would love to work with you on your next project!

To learn more about our services, check out past project highlights or contact Carlton Building Services to see how we can help with your next project.

JP Carlton

J.P. Carlton

J.P. Carlton is the founder of Carlton Building Services, a Hampton Roads-based construction company.