Have You Considered These Medical Equipment Planning Basics?

Medical equipment planning and layout design are one of the trickiest parts within the hospital design process and as such demand a thorough consideration of all aspects.

Each clinical space is woven around how clinicians interact with the equipment and the patients. It takes into account the universal principles of infection control, general hygiene and ease of maintenance and cleaning. This is the common sense stuff with things like locating wash hand basins near the entrance to remind medical staff to wash hands before and after interacting with the patients.

Medical equipment, fittings and fixtures layout follows the work flow and must separate the “dirty” and “clean” zones.

Height of hospital equipment, shelving and layout should allow easy access to hospital staff of an average height. The same goes for all diagnostic units, which should be suitably adjustable to cater to all heights/sizes of patients.

While a great majority of medical equipment is easy to relocate through attached wheels, this is not the same for larger medical equipment units such as MRI’s, and CT scanners parts of which are bolted to the floor or wall. Access and egress are both important. So thought needs to be given not just to facilitate the initial arrival and installation of these large/oversize medical units before the last wall is built, but also how to remove the equipment when it needs servicing or decommissioning and replacement. It pays to consider if these big units can be dismantled into smaller modules and whether the equipment can pass through the corridor corners? Are any trolley options available? Is the door large enough to accommodate easy passage of these units? Does it need to go in a lift? If yes, are the service lifts large enough to cater to the size and weight?

Over and above the size/movement aspects of large hospital equipment, building structure is another aspect to consider well before the construction starts. The hospital X-ray unit, for example needs steel in the ceilings to provide the ceiling tracks on which the X-Ray head is mounted. Slab deflection and vibration requirements should be established with the equipment providers.

Continuing with the example of the X-Ray, the X-Ray table, the head on the gantry, the wall mounted bucky, the control console and the generator all need services and floor trunking dimensions and locations should be provided to the structural engineers to plan that before the concrete is poured. Otherwise cutting out the trunking will be an expensive and time consuming job. Worse still the steel mesh may not allow you to cut the floor as it will compromise the slab stability.

Special hospital equipment also gets installed in stages, such as the theatre pendant and lights; the suppliers normally issue the steel plate at the construction stage which should be bolted to the concrete ceiling. The rest of the services and pendant is built just before the false ceiling goes up. For security reasons, the doors and locks should be installed to the rooms but decoration outstanding otherwise the builder may have to go back in to touch up and fix any scratches and broken items.

Likewise most advanced lasers and radiation equipment require interlocking doors as a safety measure, which is automatically turned on before switching on the said units, in addition to the warning lights outside the room.

The above discussion caters to the basic requirements only, should you desire to protect your huge investment in an upcoming hospital project it is a must that you have an experienced design manager on board while appointing the lead architects.

This is where we come in. We have worked with clinical, architectural, civil, structural, MEP, landscape, interior and other designers, engineers, medical professionals, authorities, medical equipment manufacturers and many many other entities over the years and can save you a lot of time, money and hassle but guiding you through our advice, reviewing your designs, pointing you in the right direction or whenever you have a question or at a crossroad and need pointing in the right direction. So come talk to us!


About the Author:
Harry McQue is a hospital Design & Equipment Manager with Post Graduate degrees in business management and information technology. Harry has 20+ years of international experience ranging from working on hospital projects in Dubai (Middle East) to over £1 Billion hospital projects in the UK & Europe. You can benefit from his experience at: If you have current or upcoming projects big or small or  topics that you would like his advice on, you can get in touch via the Contact page.

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