Due to the constant aging of the world’s population, the prospects for the construction of new health care facilities are looking strong. In the coming years, they should continue to remain strong. Many sectors in the construction industry have suffered in the past, but the health care sector remained busy. Hospital construction is quickly recognizing the need for environmentally responsible construction in order to provide healing in a sustainable way. Here are three important trends in hospital construction:
Trend 1: Sustainable Construction
While LEED has provided a great framework for the design and construction of sustainable structures, it often lacked specifics for critical elements of hospitals, such as high performance labs. First released in 2004, the Green Guide for Health Care (GGHC) complements the voids left by LEED. According to its website, the GGHC is the health care sector’s first quantifiable sustainable design toolkit. The GGHC integrates enhanced environmental and health principles and practices into the planning, design, construction, operations and maintenance of health care facilities.
Trend 2: Integration of Nature
The importance of an evidence-based approach to hospital construction has risen over the last decades, so it is not a surprise that there is an increase in efforts to incorporate more natural spaces into hospitals. This can be as simple as integrating various earth themes throughout the different levels of the facilities. A common practice is to take a “tree approach.” This consists of starting with root-related themes at the base level and working toward sky-related themes at the upper level. Symbols and images are often used to clearly help the user identify the level’s theme.
Trend 3: Champion Teams for Sustainability Efforts
As the design of hospitals grows more complex and involves several dozens of individual subcontractors, it is critical that the project manager establishes a “champion team” that focuses on coordinating sustainability efforts. The task of coordinating sustainability efforts needs to be consistent across all teams, so it is best that a single team is in charge of this activity. The champion teams for sustainability use LEED, GGHC and evidence-based approach checklists to create an environmentally responsible project.
While there are several trends happening in the hospital construction industry, the ones that stand out are: the rise of sustainable construction, the integration of nature into construction and design, and the assignment of champion teams for sustainability efforts. The hospital of tomorrow has the objective of promoting healing through a healthier, environmentally friendly atmosphere.
Brown, J. (2011). What is the hospital of the future? Healthcare Design. September 2011. Vol. 11, No. 9. Pages 18-26. The Green Guide for Health Care. (2012). Website. http://www.gghc.org/