The healthcare building industry is unique from other commercial building industries. According to the Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration statistics, the healthcare industry is the second fastest growing sector in the economy. On average, healthcare buildings are over twice as large as any other commercial building type. Current trends for larger healthcare systems have multiple buildings housed on a single campus, encompassing a variety of functions, sizes, ages, and conditions. Many of these buildings have 24/7 operations that require uninterrupted coordination and services at all times. Among the major concerns facing facility directors in healthcare organizations are the need for better indoor environmental quality, improved patient safety, more efficient and flexible facilities, and the need for higher patient and staff satisfaction. Since the costs and life cycle implications of construction choices are borne by the building owners, they have a vested interest in efficient, long-term, maintainable buildings. The current building climate dictates highly regulated design and operations in health facilities including intense economic, health, and life safety oversight.
Components of an interior design master plan
The interior design master plan document is frequently a set of binders that include finish recommendations and specifications for construction and renovation projects including flooring, ceiling, wall finish, millwork, and architectural accent materials; and a separate set of binders that include the selection and specifications for furnishings, finishes/fabrics, and window coverings. Often, these are accompanied by a series of presentation boards showing the various materials set in finish schemes.
Several steps are normally taken in order to develop these standards. The first step includes appointing a committee to meet at least once a month to give input, review, and finally approve the master plan. The committee is usually made up of the interior design consultant and representatives of a variety of areas to provide balance in the facilities department, patient and family areas, clinical areas, purchasing, infection control, and the executive administration. Typically, participants will range from a director level and above. Once the committee is in place, a meeting calendar is established to allow for preplanning and good attendance. Roles and responsibilities are established and then a series of defined steps sets the process in motion. The interior design consultant guides the process with the committee input and establishes specific goals and timelines. The following graphic illustrates the steps in the basic phases, which take several weeks/months to accomplish based on the frequency and timeline for meetings. The phases are described below.
Phase 1: Definition of needs. This initial step includes a site walk. It is typically conducted by the facility representative and the interior designer together. This entails a comprehensive review of the existing facility or buildings in order to have an understanding of the existing condition and needs, and allow for documentation of the priority of needs. This assessment includes the current ceilings, walls, floor finish materials, casework, and furniture to determine the existing age and condition. Comments may include documentation regarding appropriate materials or furnishings in clinical or patient areas, appropriate ceiling finishes, areas showing extreme wear or not being maintained properly, as well as areas that have been recently renovated. A facility assessment document is produced by the interior design consultant and turned over to the facility representative. This document is a useful tool for the facility director when identifying and prioritizing needs. After the assessment, a meeting or series of meetings outlines the final priority statement.