Circulation in multi-service facilities – model plans

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A quick reference guide to the implications of different organisational diagrams on the utility, amenity and cost of shared facilities.

Increasingly public services both within healthcare and other local services (such as housing, social work, police, leisure) are working closer together and being housed in the same facility. If well designed, an integrated services building can provide space for all the services in a smaller total area than had the services been located separately, thus reducing the environmental and economic impact of the development. It can also, due to the opportunities of increased scale, provide opportunities for additional amenity (a central zone could be used for exhibitions or community meetings) and greater future flexibility. However, realising these potential benefits requires early consideration of how the different services relate to one another, and the means of both public and staff circulation between the services.

This study aims to explore the opportunities and challenges of different organisational forms to help those involved in briefing, budgeting and early design make informed decisions about the building and its performance as a whole. The study focuses on three alternative design approaches to a midsized integrated services facility. The building has been designed three times (based on a real project), each with the same brief and schedule, but modelled around three different commonly used organisational circulation diagrams. This enables direct comparison to be made around costs, functionality, user experience and opportunities for flexible use and future change and expansion. The challenges and opportunities raised by each model emerged from a discussion between representatives with different areas of expertise including procurement, construction, and service provision from several NHSScotland boards.

Use of this quick reference guide

This guide can be used to raise issues and widen understanding and ambition at several different points in the design process:

  • Brief development – promoting discussion around the objectives of co-location and how the development brief may embed those principles established for service change and integration
  • Site selection –consideration of how site factors such as size, shape, orientation, topography, access and local built form might influence or limit the options for different diagrams to be accommodated on the site, and the implication of this on the long term utility of the development
  • Early assessment of site options – understanding the likely implications of different diagrams being applied to the site before the detailed layout is worked out.
    Download quick reference guide here

The guide was commissioned and completed in association with hub South East, jmarchitects, rsp consulting engineers and representatives from NHS Borders, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, and NHS Fife.

For additional information, a survey report of multiservice buildings delivered through LIFT is available here

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