As healthcare budgets continue to tighten, building or refitting a hospital has become increasingly difficult. Yet a growing population and continuous advances in medical equipment and technology make it necessary to both build and refit hospitals across Australia. Faced with this situation, it’s clear that smart, future proof design has never been more important.
Making more efficient use of the space around your new or existing hospital is one smart design approach that can lead to significant savings for both construction and refurbishment projects.
Principles for Using Space Wisely
Before you can begin designing your next build or refit, it’s important to understand not only what equipment requires installation, but also exactly how hospital staff will use and interact with this equipment. That way, you can designate the necessary space and nothing more, while also avoiding designating too little space.
Understanding typical “workflows” is also key to using space wisely. Do doctors, nurses and patients follow similar, progressive routes around the hospital? Wherever the answer to this is “yes”, it’s important to ensure your design facilitates these routes, making them as accessible and straightforward as possible.
In hospital refits, another important aspect of using space wisely is ensuring minimal disruption to services during the refit so your hospital can continue to function using as much space as possible. This involves meticulous planning and scheduling, with appropriate buffers built in to ensure the refit is delivered without unnecessary interference to the hospital’s day-to-day operations.
For both new builds and refurbishment projects, using space wisely may involve completing vital areas of the hospital first so that they’re ready to begin operating while the rest of the construction project is finished. Once again this requires careful planning and scheduling.