Extending Medical Facilities Is Now Simpler
Under recently introduced changes to the planning system, it should be easier to extend GP practices, hospitals and other healthcare facilities. New Permitted Development rules mean that in most cases formal planning permission won’t be needed. Instead, from August 1st, owners of facilities can apply for prior approval from their local authority through a streamlined process.
Under prior approval, local authorities will assess the impacts of the development in areas such as transport, highways and the environment and how these can be mitigated. The maximum period allowed for deliberations is eight weeks, after which approval is assumed by default.
This potentially clears away one major area of uncertainty with planned expansions of healthcare facilities. So what about the other areas of risk and uncertainty that often come with construction projects – how can they be mitigated?
Faster and More Predictable Construction Projects
The good news is that it isn’t just the planning system that has been streamlined. These days, construction projects can be completed significantly faster and with more certain outcomes relating to quality, energy efficiency and building performance. Modern offsite methods of construction simplify the process from design to delivery.
Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) also offer more ways to overcome potential local authority and community concerns during the prior approval process. Projects that specify panelised systems such as Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) are much less disruptive than traditional construction because onsite operations are minimised. They’re also suitable for restricted and hard to access sites. Osborne has delivered over 50 healthcare projects using this approach.
MMC approaches deliver important sustainability benefits. They create less waste and result in buildings with significantly lower levels of embodied carbon. These methods are also well adapted to passive design principles that minimise the heating and cooling needs of the building.
With simplified planning approval and proven methods to deliver programmes faster and within budget, many uncertainties disappear. There’s now much more flexibility about how to meet local healthcare needs.