Thursday, October 18, 2007

Hospital design

Flicking between news stations was a bit surreal this morning - hospitals one one, with hospitals on another, and more hospital news here all detailing their failures on hygiene etc.

All the normal stuff was mentioned cleaning hands, equipment blah blah; but one of the things I came up with was that it appears hospitals aren't designed as hospitals. Sounds stupid I know, but watching the images and having visited several in the last few years I noticed that they're not designed with that purpose in mind. Oh sure they use special carpets or tiles, but it's the little things - why do all the doors have protruding frames, same with light switches, desks with nooks and crannys. The way wards are laid out with one long corridor with alcove bays and the nurses' station set at one end so they can't see or be seen by the patients. Narrowing areas, some areas only dimly lit. Just little things that make me think that although the designer(s) know that this is going to be a hospital they don't really comprehend what is going to be done there.

Makes me think of car-parks; there overall purpose is for people to be able to park and then shop, but look at how much thought has gone into setting out the parking bays and traffic routes compared to actually getting people into the shops. next time you park your car in a purpose-built car-park stop and look at what you've got to do to get to the shops.


Anonymous said...

This was heard on one of the planning meetings for our new building:

"Hey, why do you want so many sinks in your office?"

"…office? It's supposed to be a lab!"

"Wait — you want us to build a lab in here??"

FlipC said...

At which point you change planners, difficult to believe that they didn't even bother finding out what you do.

"Hey these lab guys want to move out into a new building"
"So why do they want so many sinks in their office?"

Anonymous said...

The trouble with our build is that there are now just so many subcontractors and sub-subcontractors that it's like a giant game of Chinese whispers.

Seriously. Our contract is with the park operators, but they're paying somebody else to build the thing, and get another bunch of guys to design it first. And both of those are subcontracting various elements of their tasks to other people, who are in some cases subcontracting things even further still. So the instructions you meticulously give to the people you're talking to don't always reach the dude actually building the thing…

(Of course, once they knew we wanted a lab, they brought in a whole bunch of new additional contractors just to design and build our lab — not to mention drainage system, air processing system, and so forth.)

I wonder if this is the problem with all large projects?

FlipC said...

Well the thing with the multiple subcontractors sure, but really you should only be dealing with the main designers and the main builders. The others should only get involved when there's a query that those two can't resolve/don't understand.