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Recently, I had the opportunity to speak on "Future Building Designs" at a conference in New York. Multiple facility directors shared how they are already approaching future designs due to COVID. A few talking points came up repeatedly that are worth discussing for facility design planning. These points may help justify the increase in cost per square footage to the C-Suite because of facility redesign.
Due to COVID, redesigned or new construction will increase 30-50% in the future. In fact, the State of California Office of Planning and Health Development (OSHPD) is already working on a new design guide to help facility directors configure their upcoming projects.
Three new areas of focus include changes in ER design, increased med gas capacity, and wing pressures design. Additionally, HVAC units are going to become dual purpose in pressure relationships, meaning they will have to operate to provide positive and negative pressure with built-in automation.
Another area of discussion, that is not being identified, is the increase in electricity demands due to expansion in sizing of the systems. Future HVAC designs are focusing on diluting air quickly during a pandemic response which requires increased HVAC capacity and the introduction of additional equipment to help heat the air since air requirements are increasing. This will all be a demand above your current electrical needs.
Administrative controls and patient flow design were discussed to help reduce cross-contamination. The days of the singular entrance and common waiting room are going to go away to help with pandemic response. With the increase in pandemics over the years (i.e., SARS, Bird Flu, H1N1, Ebola), it is evident that new facilities will be designed to allow healthcare workers to segregate areas quickly to respond to the current situation.
We are just scratching the surface of future designs, but it is evident that expansion of bed capacity and pressures design will be huge. Infection control will also have a strong overtone in this area as well. As we are still responding to the pandemic, I am sure current and future studies will identify many different common denominators across the nation. Stay tuned. My hope is to give you an idea of where the future is heading and a bit of a heads up going into the new year.
At Soleran, we are able to help hospitals with emergency preparedness needs, as well as regulatory. Give us a call to go over your specific needs and see how our software solutions can create less work for you and your staff.
Stressed? Everyone is under more stress in light of recent events between job furloughs, homeschooling, and quarantine itself.
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Engineering and Infection Control have, at times, been seen as separate entities functioning independently of each other (except for a construction project). This was especially true in the past, but current trends show these two areas are essential in supporting each other daily.
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