12 Must-Haves for Medical Building Construction

All med­ical build­ings, includ­ing hos­pi­tals, nurs­ing homes, out­pa­tient clin­ics, and psy­chi­atric facil­i­ties should have spe­cif­ic fea­tures that ben­e­fit both the struc­ture and the occu­pants of the build­ing. Med­ical build­ings are com­plex and incor­po­rate a wide range of ser­vices, includ­ing diag­nos­tic and treat­ment func­tions, such as clin­i­cal lab­o­ra­to­ries, imag­ing, emer­gency rooms, and surgery. Also, inpa­tient facil­i­ties include hos­pi­tal­i­ty func­tions, such as food ser­vice and house­keep­ing.

The Design of an Efficient and Functional Medical Building

A well designed and con­struct­ed med­ical build­ing is ener­gy-effi­cient, dis­as­ter-resis­tant, and has excel­lent indoor envi­ron­men­tal qual­i­ty (IEQ). A med­ical build­ing should also be safe, secure, and low main­te­nance. Bau­tex Wall Assem­bly pro­vides all these must-have fea­tures for med­ical build­ing con­struc­tion. Final­ly, a med­ical struc­ture must be func­tion­al for the staff, patients, and vis­i­tors and eas­i­ly adapt­able to future needs and com­mu­ni­ties.

Read on for 13 must-haves for med­ical build­ing con­struc­tion.

Energy-Efficient Medical Building Design

1. A Solid Building Envelope Is Essential for Medical Building Construction

Med­ical build­ing con­struc­tion should strive to reduce the ener­gy load and increase the ener­gy-effi­cien­cy of the struc­ture with a tight build­ing enve­lope. Three essen­tial fea­tures of an ener­gy-effi­cient med­ical build­ing are con­tin­u­ous insu­la­tion, the appli­ca­tion of an effec­tive air and mois­ture bar­ri­er, and the use of high ther­mal mass mate­ri­als.

Con­tin­u­ous insu­la­tion stops ther­mal bridg­ing and increas­es the effec­tive insu­lat­ing per­for­mance of a wall. A well per­form­ing air and mois­ture bar­ri­er will reduce the amount of air leak­age in a build­ing, which reduces the load on HVAC equip­ment and reduces the like­li­hood of con­den­sa­tion and mois­ture prob­lems in the walls of the build­ing. High ther­mal mass mate­ri­als absorb and store heat ener­gy and help sta­bi­lize tem­per­a­ture shifts with­in the med­ical build­ing by slow­ing the rate of heat trans­fer.

Design­ing a tight and well insu­lat­ed build­ing enve­lope is the most impor­tant step in build­ing an ener­gy effi­cient med­ical build­ing.

2. Renewable Energy Sources in Medical Building Construction

Con­struc­tion of an ener­gy-effi­cient med­ical build­ing should include instal­la­tion of renew­able ener­gy sources like solar pho­to­volta­ic (PV) pan­els. Renew­able ener­gy sources help a med­ical build­ing to achieve net-zero ener­gy sta­tus. A net-zero ener­gy med­ical build­ing makes as much ener­gy as it uses. Renew­able ener­gy sources can reduce or elim­i­nate a building’s ener­gy bills.

Disaster-Resistant Design for Medical Building Construction

3. Fire-Resistant Medical Building Construction

A med­ical build­ing must strive to reduce the spread of fire and smoke dur­ing a fire emer­gency through fire-resis­tant con­struc­tion.

Struc­tur­al fire pro­tec­tion defends the crit­i­cal areas of the build­ing. For exam­ple, build­ings with insu­lat­ed con­crete blocks, like Bau­tex, and an appli­ca­tion of fire­proof­ing mate­r­i­al around the struc­tur­al steel and joint sys­tems can pro­vide fire pro­tec­tion to a build­ing.

Fire pro­tect­ed doors and win­dows are also effec­tive smoke and fire bar­ri­ers. Firestop­ping mate­ri­als pro­tect the fire bar­ri­ers from the fire spread­ing through the bar­ri­er due to elec­tri­cal, mechan­i­cal, and plumb­ing pen­e­tra­tions.

4. Constructing Hurricane- and Tornado-Resistant Medical Buildings

Hur­ri­cane- and tor­na­do-resis­tant med­ical build­ing design pro­tects a struc­ture and its occu­pants from high winds. A best prac­tice for med­ical build­ings con­struc­tion is uti­liz­ing insu­lat­ing con­crete blocks (ICB), the Bau­tex Blocks. ICBs main­tain their integri­ty dur­ing intense hur­ri­cane winds over 200 mph. Insu­lat­ed con­crete blocks also resist dam­age debris fly­ing over 100 mph.

5. Construction of Flood-Resistant Medical Buildings

Med­ical build­ings con­struct­ed in flood haz­ard zones should be designed to pro­tect against storm surge, tides, and exces­sive rain. The flood-resis­tant design should include ele­vat­ed struc­tures, mate­ri­als that can get wet, and design assem­blies that eas­i­ly dry when exposed to mois­ture. In response to Hur­ri­cane Kat­ri­na, the Depart­ment of Vet­er­ans Affairs has imple­ment­ed the upside-down design of med­ical build­ings. That means ser­vices typ­i­cal­ly housed on the ground floor or base­ment, such as the kitchen and access points for util­i­ties, are placed on the fourth lev­el of the build­ing. In addi­tion, all mis­sion-crit­i­cal ser­vices, such as the emer­gency room, are locat­ed at least 20 feet above base flood ele­va­tion.

Excellent Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) of Medical Building Construction

6. Medical Building Construction should avoid VOC materials

Med­ical build­ing con­struc­tion should avoid the use of mate­ri­als with high volatile organ­ic com­pound emis­sions, which can cause nose, eye, and throat irri­ta­tions, headaches, nau­sea, and dam­age to the kid­ney, liv­er, and cen­tral ner­vous sys­tem.

7. Good Acoustics and Sound Control of Medical Building Construction

Med­ical build­ings must pro­mote patient dig­ni­ty and pri­va­cy by ensur­ing exam rooms and patients rooms are sound­proof. In addi­tion, the exte­ri­or walls should have a high Sound Trans­mis­sion Class (STC) rat­ing to lim­it out­side noise from cars, con­struc­tion, etc. from dis­rupt­ing the qui­et inside the med­ical build­ing.

Maintenance and Safety Considerations for Medial Building Construction

8. Constructing a Medical Building for Ease of Cleanliness and Sanitation​

The design of a med­ical build­ing should con­sid­er ease of house­keep­ing. For exam­ple, care­ful detail­ing of door frames, case­work, and fin­ish tran­si­tions to lim­it dirt accu­mu­la­tion in hard-to-clean crevices and joints. Also, the use of durable and antimi­cro­bial sur­faces is essen­tial to main­tain­ing a ster­ile envi­ron­ment in a med­ical build­ing.

9. Safety and Security

Med­ical build­ings have unique secu­ri­ty and safe­ty con­cerns com­pared to a typ­i­cal pub­lic build­ing. The design of a med­ical build­ing must pro­tect the staff, patients, and oth­er occu­pants of the build­ings. The plan must also pro­tect the prop­er­ty and con­tents, par­tic­u­lar­ly the drugs and expen­sive equip­ment. Med­ical build­ings must also pro­vide ade­quate safe­guards towards vul­ner­a­ble, unsta­ble, or volatile patients. In addi­tion, because med­ical build­ings are high­ly vis­i­ble pub­lic build­ings, the design should con­sid­er the poten­tial of ter­ror­ist attacks.

Functional and Flexible Modular Medical Building Construction

10. Efficient and Cost-Effective Design

The design of a med­ical build­ing should pro­mote staff effi­cien­cy and min­i­mize the dis­tance between fre­quent­ly used spaces. For instance, nurs­ing units should be shaped to short­en the length between the nurse’s sta­tion and the patien­t’s bed, like cir­cles or tri­an­gles, unlike the long hall­ways of the past.

11. Expandability and Flexibility in the Design of the Medical Building

Med­ical facil­i­ties require­ments must adapt to improve­ments in treat­ments and changes in com­mu­ni­ties and pop­u­la­tions. A must-have for a mod­ern med­ical build­ing is uti­liz­ing mod­u­lar con­cepts that allow for future expan­sion. Also, design­ing gener­ic room sizes and plans, rather than high­ly spe­cif­ic ones, allow for con­tin­u­ing adapt­abil­i­ty to chang­ing pro­grams and needs.

12. Utilizing Bautex Wall Systems for Medical Building Construction

The Bau­tex Wall Sys­tem are insu­lat­ed con­crete blocks. Build­ing with Bau­tex Wall Sys­tem ensures a med­ical build­ing is durable, ener­gy-effi­cient, noise reduc­ing and rot, mold, fire- and storm-resis­tant.

  • The Bau­tex Wall Sys­tem R‑14 con­tin­u­ous insu­la­tion stops ther­mal bridg­ing and pro­duces an ener­gy-effi­cient build­ing enve­lope that is com­pli­ant with the lat­est build­ing codes (ASHRAE 90.1 and 2015 IECC).
  • The Bau­tex Air and Mois­ture Bar­ri­er lim­its ther­mal con­vec­tion by stop­ping the infil­tra­tion of air and mois­ture to the inte­ri­or of the med­ical build­ing.
  • The Bau­tex Wall Sys­tem has an ASTM E119 fire rat­ing of four hours and ASTM E84 val­ues for flame speed of zero and smoke devel­op­ment of twen­ty. Since the Blocks meet the ASTM E84 and NFPA 286 they meet the NFPA 101 code.
  • The Bau­tex Wall Sys­tem is sim­ple to install, noise reduc­ing, and dis­as­ter-resis­tant.

A poor­ly designed and con­struct­ed med­ical build­ing can impede activ­i­ties of all types, dis­tract from the qual­i­ty of care, and increase the costs to main­tain and oper­ate the struc­ture. Bau­tex Wall Sys­tems pro­vide solu­tions for all these must-have fea­tures when it comes to med­ical build­ing con­struc­tion. For more infor­ma­tion on how Bau­tex Sys­tems can help with your project, con­tact a spe­cial­ist today.