If you work in healthcare, the issues are all too familiar. Changing laws, advanced technologies, aging populations and aging facilities are plaguing the increasingly cost-conscious industry today.

Unfortunately, funding for capital improvements are not the types of investments that move the needle quickly enough to affect the bottom line. This hampers the design and construction of healthcare facilities to meet only immediate needs, with little planning toward the future. Additionally, new construction often means interruptions in service and disruption in revenue.

For these reasons and more, healthcare organizations are turning to renovation and expansion of their existing facilities, many dating back to the 1960s.

With most expanding and modernization projects, the mechanical scope of work often involves replacing and relocating boilers, pumps, chillers, and heat exchangers, and then optimizing both the layout for operation and schedule for construction. Each comes with its unique challenges and solutions, including code compliance and space.

Working toward solutions to the problems through comprehensive review of national and local codes, in conjunction with sound engineering practices, and through the evaluation of cost implications, will dictate the success of the design and aging infrastructure as a whole.

Preparing for Retrofit Challenges

Four rules of thumb worth following ahead of retrofit work:

  1. Understand the history of the systems. Research their evolution from original installation to current state, and know the engineering decisions of the past. This knowledge will help their expansion, particularly if they were made on sound engineering practice.
  2. Know the operation of all systems and their relationships. This will help in making recommendations for improvement.
  3. Work with engineers across all disciplines to create solutions that work in the best interest of the owner. Revisit the code.
  4. Don’t assume that all prior installations were or are code compliant. Sometimes the AHJ overlooks something. Revisiting the application portions of the code can help in shaping your interpretation and application.

For more information on this topic, please see Russell Ashcroft, P.E.Jim Begley, and Joshua Fait’s “Challenges in Aging Health Care Infrastructure” in Engineered Systems Magazine.

Tags:

  • Russell Ashcroft

    Principal Engineer

    As a Principal Engineer at Southland Engineering, Russell Ashcroft is the lead for all electrical engineering efforts within our Phoenix office. His past roles in various positions from design to commissioning give him a unique insight into what makes each project design and client relationship a success.

  • Show Comments (0)

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

comment *

  • name *

  • email *

  • website *

You May Also Like

How Team Selection Can Affect Project Outcomes

Selecting the appropriate trade partners and even determining which trades should be partners is ...

Top Six Mistakes Made on IPD Projects

The integrated project delivery (IPD) method encourages all involved trade partners to share the ...

How Not to Mesh Up: Six Mistakes to Avoid When Generating CFD Grids

Meshing is the process of dividing fluid domain into small volumes to solve equations ...

Achieving Successful Project Outcomes with Design-Assist

The design-assist model, if done in a way where scope and responsibility are not ...

4 Steps to Getting Started on Your Smart Building Approach

One of the challenges in developing a ‘smart building’ is that most owners have ...

From Intern to Full-Time Employee

One of the most daunting experiences that stands out in my young professional career ...