Anticipating the Demon: Planning and Programming Mistakes

November 4, 2012
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Anticipating the Demon: Planning and Programming Mistakes
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The 8:30 a.m. roundtable discussion titled “Planning & Programming: Don’t Try This at Work—1,001 Planning Mistakes to Avoid” was led by Jennifer Aliber, AIA, ACHA, LEED AP, principal, Shepley Bulfinch, Lari Diaz, AIA, LEED AP, EDAC, principal, KMD Architects, and Carlos L. Amato, AIA, ACHA, LEED AP , EDAC, principal, Western Region Healthcare Market Leader, Cannon Design. Attendees were invited to exchange ideas and share the problems and hiccups that have reared their ugly heads during past projects.

There were many issues discussed but some of the particular challenges raised involve:

·         Communication – when planning and programming changes are made, how do you keep everyone informed at each level, including those who are new to the project?

·         Budget – defining the budget. First costs versus operational costs

·         Owner’s vision – tracking the process and staying true to it.

·         Infrastructure master planning – Using repetitive, dated ideas on older buildings and even new infrastructure.

·         Programming vision – placing programs in the basement. With the risk of things like flooding and the improvement of productivity in staff when daylighting is accessible, why is the basement still an option?

·         Building for flexibility – There are wasted curved spaces that could be better used for patients by being built in a grid formation, as well overly specific areas where a corridor or bathroom should have allowed for some wiggle room once equipment, furnishings, and even people fill the space.

·         Equipment planning process – Design for change. Vendors and equipment may be swapped out frequently for large or smaller replacements.

Participants also touched on many more specific issues that they've experienced including problems encountered in construction, such as transition planning and change management.

Solutions such as developing a design action log, digging out to provide lightwells in the basement, and engaging thought leaders and users before embarking on the space programming were provided.

Designing for change and for future flexibility will become a driving factor whether it’s a new building or a renovation project. Anticipating client changes, staff reactions to plans and programs, or vendor overload in spaces is going to have to become second nature as the design and construction landscape transforms.

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