Firm's role on the project: Design a new Emergency Department.
The design of the new Nanaimo Regional General Hospital (NRGH) Emergency Department would be guided by the following four values: timely, respectful, quality care, and a place where people would want to come to work.
As the design evolved, and functional adjacencies were being satisfied, there became a real focus and desire by the Users to take it beyond just a very functional, and efficient ED; the Users wanted to create a place where people would want to come to work. It was felt this Goal could be demonstrated and supported by creating an environment that provided natural light and adequate staff work, personal and lounge/respite areas; with views to nature.
The design solution imbedded 5 courtyards into the ED. The challenge was to demonstrate to the Client/owner that there was not a premium in the net-to-gross, additional floor area, excessive travel distances, and/or additional capital costs being generated as a result of the preferred solution. We also were challenged to provide a convincing argument as to the cost benefits of this solution. And to produce a LEED gold building, on budget of course!
We confirmed that the NRGH used Functional Program parameters, room and component areas that were similar to other recent EDs and in line with recommended guidelines and that it achieved equal or more efficient gross up factors than the EDs it was compared to. The preferred solution had been designed to provide daylight and view to the majority of staff work and patient care areas, in response to the clinician generated body of evidence of the benefits of daylight in healthcare facilities. Productivity gain in sustainable, day lit buildings range from 6 to 16%.
The Productivity gain within an intense patient care environment such as an ED, will be some combination of reduced drug use by patients, increased caregiver productivity, reduced error, and reduced caregiver absenteeism, overtime and recruitment/training costs. We concluded that a conservative 1.5% overall productivity gain would be required to achieve a three year payback for the courtyards and related capital costs. This project has started construction and tendered under budget.