August 23, 2018

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.


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