By Jessica Derynck, Associate AIA, LEED AP
Healthcare architecture requires many people—owners and facility managers, specialized architects and engineers, contractors, and construction managers. Despite our varied backgrounds and training, we need to speak a common language and understand how to work together as a team. We play in different positions but share a common set of rules and goals.
To build a common core of understanding, the American Society of Healthcare Engineers (ASHE) offers the Health Care Construction (HCC) Certificate program tailored for contractors, facilities managers, and construction managers. As part of DSGW’s commitment to collaboration with our clients and partners, I recently took part in a two-day HCC seminar in Chicago. Most of the roughly 100 attendees work for construction firms from throughout the Midwest. I was one of the few people from an architecture firm.
Key Lessons & Sharing a Common Language
The seminar took on issues that are part of almost every health care project including: risk management; mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems (MEP); medical gas systems; and medical technology.
Two issues stand out where teamwork is essential. Patient safety is the first priority in all projects at operating health care facilities, and it requires exacting skill in materials delivery, and phasing plans. Code compliance must also be addressed from programming though design, staging, and construction. In each of these issues, the full building team must be involved, and we need a shared understanding of standards and best practices.
We have to build trust, have fewer misunderstandings, and faster communication. In the end, players who share a common training make a better team, and most important, patients and care providers are better-served.