by Ryan Klebes
To the general public, constructing a building may seem like a straightforward task (especially to those in the industry), and generally independent of the type of building being constructed. Certainly there are standards and commonalities throughout construction, but specific considerations should be taken into account when the building in question is a healthcare facility.
For one, the users of the facility are a varied lot. There may be nurses and technicians that work an entire shift on the same unit, and doctors and other medical professionals that flit between departments and buildings. Visitors are also individuals to be kept into consideration – whether as a result of their general unfamiliarity of the area, or heightened anxieties. And then, of course, there are the patients that depend on the facility as the framework for their care, regardless of whether they are in-patient or out-patient, in the building for a few hours or a few days.
Large moving equipment is common in medical facilities, and accessibility should always be kept at the forefront. Specific electrical requirements also must be considered, as should the need for reliable and effective lighting, and the ability to keep the surroundings as clean as possible. Creating an environment that is calming is also vital.
Healthcare building projects may encompass the construction of an entire new facility, or simply renovations to a previously built construction. The continuing advances in healthcare technology require that facilities be able to adapt and adjust as needed.
For new constructions, amenities are being included that might not even have been thought of 10 or 15 years ago. Take the new Village Pediatric Center, that opened in Brockton on May 3 and serves the healthcare needs of children from birth through 19 years of age. The 10,000sf building houses the new offices of a staff of medical doctors, pediatric nurse practitioners, a licensed independent clinical social worker, and a doctor of psychology. The state-of-the-art facility also includes a brand new youth and family fitness center, and 10 examination rooms.
When renovating an existing healthcare facility, the construction firm should also keep in mind the nature of the services provided by the facility, which may prove challenging for the construction project to get underway. Construction firms need to be nimble and arrange their schedules to provide minimum disruption to patients. One way to do this is to schedule some work for evenings or weekends, when regular patient hours are not expected.
Additionally, alerting the people in the area of noise beforehand is not only appreciated but can prevent unexpected reactions. Always being aware of the surroundings – and the individuals’ needs within those surroundings – is integral to the success of any construction company working on a healthcare renovation project.
Construction firms should also be sure to partner with other companies (architects, civil engineers, etc.) that specialize in healthcare facilities. This way, every aspect can come together smoothly. For the Village Pediatrics project, Acella Construction partnered with JACA Architects of Quincy and Civil Engineering Firm J.K. Holmgren Engineering, Inc., two organizations that also hold strong reputations for healthcare construction excellence.
Users of healthcare facilities vary, but the importance of the overall mission of the project is to help people. Given this, it’s vital that the building be constructed with every need and use considered.
Ryan Klebes is senior project manager at Acella Construction