Adapting To New Realities – How To Deliver Innovation In Healthcare Construction
Back in April the Government announced a scheme with the UK Space Agency that invited organisations to submit proposals for using space-age technologies to help design the hospital of the future.
It will be fascinating to see what projects spin out of this initiative. It certainly reflects a move to think differently about the facilities where health services are delivered. But perhaps some of the innovations we need are more Earth-bound and already available?
This is a time of enormous change for the healthcare estate, which should herald a new era of innovation. House building on a massive scale, an ageing population and a long-term strategy of delivering a wider range of health services through community settings. These factors are driving a rethink of the roles of hospitals, GP surgeries and health centres.
Demands will change rapidly. So projects will have to be agile – both in design and execution. New buildings will have to offer flexible spaces, excellent energy efficiency, exemplary levels of quality – and be capable of rapid and cost-effective construction.
Can We Build It?
Seeing how a need or opportunity could be met through better design of healthcare buildings is one part of the problem. The next question is whether that design can be built in the way it was envisaged – and for a viable budget?
When innovative design conflicts with practicality the tendency is to play it safe. Traditional construction projects already come with plenty of cost, timing and quality risks – so why add to these by stretching the limits of what can be built?
Change comes when innovative design is paired with innovative construction in an increasingly seamless process. As contractors, architects and other stakeholders become more familiar with MMC and offsite construction there’s no doubt that notions of what’s technically feasible and financially viable will be redrawn
This process is already happening. Osborne has delivered dozens of programmes using offsite methods, including over 50 based around SIPs. This represents a substantial body of experience that continuously generates new ideas and possibilities for each new scheme.
Innovation in healthcare construction is already happening. If not quite a revolution, it’s certainly an extremely rapid process of evolution that is delivering faster build times, better quality and enhanced value.