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Flexibility in hospital design H

By Awn Sharif, Healthcare facilities planning manager, Supreme Council of Health, Doha, Qatar


■ Flexibility in design will extend the life of a healthcare facility as no one can exactly forecast future needs

■The planning stage of a project is the most crucial time to consider flexibility in design

ealthcare facilities are heavily serviced buildings and built to last, and yet they must constantly

adapt to changing needs arising mainly from technological development, new medical practices and economic circumstances. Flexibility in these healthcare facilities is related to the ability to change internally and to grow externally, and to replace parts that have become obsolete. Nowadays, it is becoming fashionable

to talk about the need for flexibility in healthcare facility planning and design and sometime, flexibility is looked at as a new trend rather than being a concept that has been constantly reinvented due to the accelerating pace of change in the healthcare domain. Even though it’s a traditional preoccupation that has been reinvented, flexibility as a concept always remain an argumentative idea and a definite uncertainty that needs to be considered during planning and design of healthcare facilities. At the same time it is difficult to be fully implemented due to its different complicated aspects, categories

and cycles, and to the difficulty in forecasting the healthcare future environment. This is in addition to the element of cost. It is widely agreed among people involved in healthcare facility planning and design that flexibility must be a basic feature of any healthcare facility in order to keep it from rapid obsolescence in the face of the ever- changing needs and technologies. Nobody can really forecast the direction of change with certainty and how flexibility in a healthcare facility should look like exactly. This article will try to cover the different flexibility dimensions in healthcare facility planning and design in order to contribute to the ongoing discussions. Is flexibility a trend, an option, a traditional occupation or a definite uncertainty?

FlexiBility,A trADitionAl preoCCupAtion Even though mainly developed in North America and Europe, healthcare facility architecture trends are going global nowadays as the approach to healthcare as a product is strongly promoted by international

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