Weekly tip: Healthcare design and construction challenges

Hospital Safety Insider, August 9, 2012

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When a healthcare facility contemplates new construction or renovation, the organization selects a team of professionals to provide a design that is not only aesthetically pleasing, but functional and cost-effective. It is agreed and understood that the professionals will provide a design that complies with all of the local and state codes and regulations. After all, it is their responsibility as design professionals to facilitate changes that comply with all requirements of the relevant authorities.

But the healthcare industry is highly regulated, second only to the nuclear power generation industry, according to some sources. There are numerous authorities that impose codes, standards, and regulations upon healthcare organizations, and they all have an opinion on how those regulations should be interpreted. Some of the codes and standards overlap from one authority to another, such as the ICC International Building Code or the NFPA Life Safety Code® (LSC), but often the interpretations of the same code are not consistent between authorities.

The LSC is one of the many codes and standards that address features of fire safety that are required in existing and new construction for hospitals. When plans involve new construction or renovation of existing spaces, the requirements of the LSC must be met. So why is it that we still have new hospitals being designed or existing hospitals being renovated that do not meet these requirements?

This tip was excerpted from the August issue of
Healthcare Life Safety Compliance. Subscribers can read the tip in its entirety here.

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