Navigating the Healthcare Sector: A Guide for Architects and Designers
The supply and demand for healthcare in any country depends on a combination of health/illness patterns and social, economic, environmental and technological variables.[i] In Australia, the healthcare sector is 9 per cent of GDP and rising.[ii] With an aging population – the proportion of people aged over 65 years is projected to double by the year 2051[iii] – and an increase in chronic illnesses, the sector is set to face even more demand in the coming years.[iv]
When building a healthcare facility, architects and designers face a whole host of challenges that they do not encounter with residential developments or commercial projects. For architects, the Australasian Health Facility Guidelines (AusHFG) are used to assess submissions and architectural plans for new health facilities.[v] The construction and design of such facilities are required to comply with the standards of a Class 9a building as set out in the Building Code of Australia (BCA).[vi]
A checklist developed by WorkCover Victoria offers an extensive list of criteria that architects and designers should consider when selecting equipment and furniture for health and aged care. From ensuring that items are Standards Approved to assessing limitations and safety features, designers must be confident that their choice will satisfy the requirement of the facility and its patients needs. The list also addresses other important aspects of procurement for healthcare facilities such as product life span; back up services, warranties and service considerations.
[i]Business Council of Australia,. 2017. Selected Facts And Statistics On Australia’s Healthcare Sector: Engaging And Empowering Citizens And Patients Is The Key To Better Health Outcomes. Melbourne. Accessed February 6.
[iv]Business Council of Australia, 2017. Selected Facts And Statistics On Australia’s Healthcare Sector: Engaging And Empowering Citizens And Patients Is The Key To Better Health Outcomes. Melbourne. Accessed February 6.
by David Congram