Active Projects

An integrated approach to the design of high quality healthcare space and flexible layouts using Modelling, Simulation and Visualisation (MSV)

The main findings and recommendations have been summarised below.
• Space layout planning in healthcare, as the starting point of hospital design, must consider the benefits from users’ perspective in addition to geometrical and topological requirements.
• Supportive built environments with good internal layouts, accessibility, and circulation can create an overall inviting, calming, engaging, and more hygienic and productive healthcare environment for staff, patients and their families.
• Space layout is one of the factors could effect on nursing staff productivity. There are other environmental factors to consider (e.g. natural light, view, thermal comfort, etc.).
• The existing approaches and layout design systems have been identified and the comparative study of different categories of people circulation designs and contrasts their advantages and disadvantages to improve access and people circulation is in process.
• Standardised clinical areas can promote efficiency in care and treatment, make life easier for clinical staff and reduce the incidence of medical error with the possible financial benefits; and the best opportunities for space standardisation lie at the level of a room / space.
• Healthcare space flexibility is a vital area to ensure short- and long-term operational efficiency and cost effectiveness. The best opportunity to achieve space flexibility lies at the level of a ward / department.
• Healthcare facility designs present very different challenges to the offices, shops, and residential buildings etc. The mock-up simulations with users performing specific tasks should help architects to understand how the care model affects that simulated area so as to produce an optimal layout with the correct dimensions and shape. Both physical and digital mock-up simulations are important to improving the design of high quality healthcare space. At the different stages of healthcare development, choosing a better simulation method should be carefully considered.
• After a number of reviews of modelling and simulation tools and software and a Proof of Concept (PoC) project, it was found that digital mock-up simulations were not suitable to use to decide the actual size and shape of space due to the lack of collision detection technology in the most available tools and software.
• A protocol to optimise layout solving SLP problem was developed with the following steps.
1. Problem formulation (setting objectives).
2. Requirements collection (setting geometrical and topological constraints, adjacency, accessibility, travelling distance, etc).
3. Optimisation algorithms implementation (GA or GA toolbox).
4. Layout representation.
5. Result evaluation and validation.
• Choosing appropriate methods to use, well structuring the methodology and controlling the modelling and simulation sessions can help to improve the design of healthcare space. It is feasible to quantify and characterize the qualitative aspects of the working environment for care providers using standard methods. However, clinical staff involvement is essential to healthcare design process.

This project explored: the potential application of BIM for during the design and operation of healthcare infrastructure; the need for improved standardization; and the i nterface of ADB with BIM, parametric modelling and environmental simulation tools. The benefits inherent in such an integrated approach have included, the reduction in the cost and time required for various aspects of the healthcare building design and development process.

This research provided an excellent foundation for HaCIRIC Phase 2 and two PhDs into the design of flexible and adaptable healthcare facilities using BIM.