The design and arrangement of facilities in hospitals is a fundamental aspect when designing a health center, since these are elements that involve a large area and budget for the entire work and, in addition, require an adequate provision for optimize its operation.
The complexity of the design and layout of the facilities corresponds, on the one hand, to the diversity of functions to be covered, and on the other to the special conditions of use, such as cleaning, sterility or safety that must be maintained in many areas.
Criteria for the design and arrangement of facilities in hospitals
When we define the design and arrangement of facilities in hospitals, we must take into account different criteria that will allow us to optimize their approach.
On the one hand it is important to seek their integration in the building, avoiding their excessive presence. It is also essential to rationalize, to generate the least expense, both in the installation itself and in its consumption and maintenance.
When considering the location of the facilities, it is necessary to enable their accessibility, for example by means of recordable elements. In addition, the centralization and monitoring of controls and meters will facilitate their management.
The technological advance also influences in the design and disposition of facilities in hospitals, since it has generated new typologies of facilities previously nonexistent. An example would be the voice and data networks.
And another of the essential criteria to take into account in the design and arrangement of facilities in hospitals is the energy efficiency of them.
Criteria for energy efficiency
When considering the facilities of a health center, it is important to take into account the impact they have at an environmental, economic and sustainability level.
In this sense we must take into account the source of energy used by the chosen facilities, prioritizing those that are supplied by renewable energy sources, or those that minimize emissions in the process of operation, such as solar or photovoltaic panels.
It is also important to assess the performance of facilities and devices, to maximize energy savings. We recommend not adhering to the minimum values established in the eco-efficiency regulations, as they are not excessively demanding and, with a little more investment in quality hospital facilities, we can obtain greater economic savings in the long term.
Types of facilities in hospitals
Fluid supply facilities in hospitals include the supply of cold water, sanitary hot water, medicinal gases (oxygen or compressed air) and special fluids (alcohol or treated water).
The supply of these fluids requires a plumbing installation in compliance with the Technical Building Code, to guarantee the quality of the service. It is necessary to use the right materials to avoid breakdowns and also to have well-located and easily accessible records for maintenance.
Some of these facilities, such as medical gases, will also require specific technical controls to check their perfect condition at all times.
This type of facilities can be both waste collection and storage and treatment thereof. They include the stormwater and wastewater treatment network of the building, the water purification systems and the disposal of garbage from the health center.
It will be essential to have a separative network of wastewater and rainwater, with the aim of being able to reuse rainwater, for example to irrigate the garden areas of the site.
Regarding garbage, in the process of design and disposal of facilities in hospitals we will need to provide a sufficient space for their separative storage, until the waste is transferred to the municipal collection network.
In this sense, we must consider that a hospital is a building where a lot of waste is generated, since new and constantly sterilized material is used, such as gloves, syringes, etc. Therefore it is very important to plan well the system of recycling and garbage collection.
Heating, air conditioning and air renewal
The installation of heating, air conditioning and air renewal has an important special in a hospital, especially for the large amount of space it requires, both for the location of equipment and for air conductions.
Such is its relevance that in some hospitals it even coincides with the general design criteria. In addition, in specific areas such as operating rooms, special units of burn or intensive care, requires to meet very high demands.
In this way, the design and arrangement of facilities in hospitals, in relation to air conditioning and air renewal, must contemplate a coherent and structured disposition. On the one hand it must allow a flexible installation, modulated and easily modified.
It is also necessary to think about the maintenance of the installation, facilitating its accessibility in a way that does not interfere with the healthcare and general operation of the health center. It is interesting to unify the spaces allocated to teams, creating vertical or horizontal blocks, such as a plant dedicated to facilities.
We cannot forget the systems of control of these systems, which will allow to achieve the maximum comfort of the users of the building. In this sense, domotics are increasingly taking over the regulation of temperature and humidity in spaces.
Electricity and telecommunications
The electrical, lighting and telecommunications installation has less spatial conditions than the previous ones, but no less important in the operation of a hospital. The electrical needs of the different services of a health center are very high and specific, as well as the safety margins that they entail.
In this way, it is necessary that an electrical installation is well sectorized, operate quickly and safely and always has room for expansion in the tables and conduits for future modifications or expansions.
The lighting of a hospital must also be studied in detail, since it directly influences the comfort of its users. For example, it will not be the same to pose a lighting for an operating room, where a very white light is needed, that the light intensity of a waiting room or a room.
This is why it is important to design a type of lighting or another depending on the area in which we are located in the hospital. In the following link you can expand the information on this subject
We must not forget the elements of transport in the design and arrangement of facilities in hospitals, as they will be essential for the movement of users and goods.
In this section we would include stairs, elevators and forklifts, which should be sized appropriately, taking into account the need to transport stretchers or other elements of larger dimensions than usual. In addition, we are talking about a typology of public building.
Security and fire protection
Finally we will talk about the internal security installations, access control and fire protection.
On the one hand it is necessary to set up monitoring and control facilities 24h of the building, especially at the access points. Some alternatives are access control through magnetic personal cards or surveillance systems by presence or closed circuit television.
On the other hand we find all the fire protection, an aspect that we have to keep in mind from the beginning of the design process of a hospital, since will greatly influence.
We find elements of prevention and control of possible fires such as building sectorisation or smoke control systems. On the other hand, every hospital must set up evacuation systems for its occupants, through emergency routes and exits, as well as providing the building with fire extinguishing systems and good accessibility to firefighters.
In terms of structure and materials, they must also comply with the fire safety requirements established in the Technical Building Code.
As we can see, the design and layout of hospital facilities requires special attention in the design process of a health center. These are complex elements that will have a great impact on the functioning of a hospital.
For this reason, at CASA SOLO we work every day committed to the design and construction of current and future healthcare spaces that articulate design and functionality.
As architects, our work can contribute to improving the quality of life of people, integrating design and health in the most natural way possible.