Planning for an overbuild, Part three: Architectural considerations
Expanding a healthcare facility is a complicated undertaking. In my last post, I outlined some of the construction considerations for this type of project. The following are some of the architectural functions and features that must be considered when undertaking an overbuild or vertical expansion:
- Check the existing roof slab surface if it is to become a finished concrete surface for a flooring material. If a floor-leveling system is needed, it may be an expensive add-on later.
- During design, carefully review the building’s joints to make sure proposed connection methods are feasible and do not create unexpected floor conditions.
- Some older buildings are “grandfathered” and do not comply with current seismic code requirements to accommodate additional floors, even if originally designed for additional floors under previous codes. Reinforcing this structure could require exposing and reinforcing existing columns or adding new underground footings in occupied areas of the facility.
- Discuss doing point-up and caulking of skin on existing floors at the same time you are putting the new skin on the new floors. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a patched-up look and may have to back up to address the issue.
- Does the existing façade lend itself to matching up with the new one above? What about color matching? Try to get some agreement, or at least understanding, that there likely will be some discontinuity of colors.
- Check the existing stairs. Do they meet the requirements of the current code as far as tolerances, etc? If not, try to get a variance or build in costs to bring them up to code. This typically hits in the area of tread height, variations from one tread to another, etc.