When conducting medical facility master planning there is somuch to do, so much to consider, and so much to plan! Ialways advise that the best approach is to view the building systemas a whole in order to establish a comprehensive strategy foraccommodating the present and future needs of the whole facility.

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A facility master plan (FMP) is an integrated,flexible framework that ensures that any improvements are executedas effectively, cost-and time-efficiently as possible, and thatthey are in compliance with all relevant industry/building codesand standards. Not having a FMP, or an incomplete one, canlead to time consuming revisions or costly change orders (read moreabout Facility Master Planning here).

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For healthcare facilities, which are typically veryhigh-cost and energy-intense real estate investments, a plannedapproach to upgrading aging equipment or mapping out cost-savingenergy efficiency improvements is particularly critical. Aneffective medical facility master plan should take into accountstatistics such as the hospital's services, census, plans forstrategic growth and communities from which to draw the targetedpatients in order to form a solid business model for the executionof any improvements. This requires the careful collection,analysis, and interpretation of existing healthcare facility data. These numbers must then be translated into optimized buildingsquare footage with functional adjacencies and employee work flowand patient care efficiencies front of mind.

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What Matters in a Facility Master Plan

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Here are 6 critical things that should be considered as part ofan effective Medical Facility Master Plan:

  1. Parking. If a facility doesn't have onsite parking, be ready to ponyup about $20,000 for one stall in a parking garage. Zoningrequirements for Medical Facilities often mandate one stall forevery 5 people.
  2. SubsurfaceEnvironmental Conditions. Let's face it, many urbanhospitals are set on centuries old plots of land and have expandedto neighboring properties as they have grown. These plots couldhave originally contained dry cleaners, gas stations, and/orunderground storage tanks. Since there is always a potential forcontamination, it is extra important to do thorough due diligence (and possible remediation - whichyou can read more about here ) of the site to ensure that your facilityis built on clean and environmentally safe land.
  3. ICRA DuringDemolition/New Construction At Existing Hospital Campuses. Protecting the health and safety of existing patients inoperating parts of the facility should never be overlooked. Things like: pressurizing existing critical care suites;checking air handling to eliminate air filtration bypass; sealingwindows; controlling pedestrian and contractor traffic all playinto a proper Infection Control Risk Assessment (ICRA) plan. The ICRA is a critical risk management endeavor that makesthe investment of professional Facility Master Planning experts anda solid implementation plan worth your while.
  4. Managing IntenseElectricity Demands. The term medical office does notreally encompass the true function of the popular walk-inmulti-service healthcare facility. Standard building estimates forelectrical power is far surpassed by that required for medicalfacilities. Surgery, diagnostics, imaging equipment, oncology careand wellness centers all require intensified power distributionnetworks. By determining your energy requirements early, buildingowners/operators can save on electrical systems design, which cancost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
  5. Utilizing TaxIncentives. Many states have a variety of taxincentives available to encourage companies to invest incommunities and create jobs - healthcare facilities do just that. Not only can healthcare facilities hope to gain incentivesfrom the creation of a significant number of jobs but if thefacility is in an urban or depressed area, further incentives canbe obtained. Many of these economic programs haveincorporated energy efficiency and LEED requirements. ThroughLEED and sustainable building consulting,owners can stand to save valuable time and money in the planningprocess.
  6. UsingBIM. Building information modeling (BIM) is a 3D design and modeling softwaresystem that is particularly well suited for medical facilityconstruction. This software allows for major buildingcomponents (electrical, IT, and communications design, HVAC and mechanical system design, plumbingsystem design, fire protection systems design) and systems to beseen in three planes. The contractors can translate thedesign model into 3-d estimating and fabrication software to nimblyproduce construction costs, fabrication details, and schedules forthe building work. Sub-contractor coordinated drawings can beproduced with the appropriate software and eliminate many of theunplanned or unforeseen above ceiling system conflicts. Furthermore, if understood, communicated and planned by thebuilding developer at the project outset, on-going facilitymanagement uses can be incorporated into a version of the model tomake maintenance and operation of the building systems stream linedover the life of ownership of the building.

The Value Of A Detailed Facility MasterPlan

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Planning is the name of the game when designing and buildingyour healthcare facility. With so many things to beconsidered, enlisting the expertise of a professional healthcareplanner can get a handle on statistics such as the hospital'sservices, census, plans for strategic growth and communities fromwhich to draw the targeted patients which is of utmost importanceto form a solid business model for this high cost real estate investment. Theseprofessionals can collect, analyze, and interpret existinghealthcare facility data and translate these numbers into optimizedbuilding square footage with functional adjacencies and employeework flow and patient care efficiencies in front of mind.

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Being prepared up front can save you a significant amount oftime and money and will result in a facility that will benefit thebuilding owners and operators, patients and staff, and thecommunity as a whole for years to come.

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