Designing better mental healthcare facilities

M&E contractors happy to pay for longer lifespan products

With ambitious build plans for the UK’s New Hospital Programme set in motion, the latest report from polymer product specialist, REHAU, found that 98% of the M&E contractors and architects working in healthcare surveyed would be willing to pay extra for products with longer lifespans when constructing healthcare facilities.

Titled Designing Healthy Healthcare, the guide ‘explores the challenges and opportunities for contractors and specifiers involved in the construction of healthcare environments, including hospitals, doctors’ surgeries, and care homes’. Alongside focusing on ‘how a patient-centric approach to selecting solutions can improve health outcomes’, the ‘white paper’ also ‘explores technologies that can help the sector tackle future challenges like climate change’.

“This additional hospital construction funding is clearly welcome news, but as with all grants, using this funding as wisely as possible will be key,” explained Steve Richmond, head of Marketing and Technical at REHAU Building Solutions UK. “All sectors are under significant pressure to decarbonise, but in healthcare, where built assets must meet rigorous standards to assure patient wellbeing, doing so effectively may prove more challenging. Yet with existing estates continuing to age alongside the general population, new, high-quality building services will be required to create facilities fit for the future. As our report’s findings show, the fact this must be done while ensuring that a traditionally carbon-intensive sector meets Net Zero carbon standards further demonstrates why quality, not cost, must be an overriding priority when specifying solutions.”

The report is the last in REHAU’s Designing Healthy series, exploring how building services can improve new and existing commercial building design and occupant health. Each white paper looks at different sectors, and highlights best practice for contractors and specifiers ‘looking to future-proof structures, while increasing overall comfort’.

REHAU says ‘the fear of cost-cutting measures’ is emphasised in the new white paper, with 76% of those surveyed suggesting occupant wellbeing is ‘value-engineered’ out of a building’s design later in the project. Specifically, 44% of respondents said this ‘often’ happened, with 32% saying it ‘always’ happens.



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