The newest Facility Guidelines Institute’s (FGI’s) Guidelines for Design and Construction of Hospitals and Outpatient Facilities include notable changes aimed at improving the standard of care in healthcare facilities. And while these updates will help improve patient health and safety, we also know that updates also oftentimes mean a grueling overhaul of current procedures to keep up with new requirements.
Fortunately, we’ve got some good news for you: the new 2014 FGI Guidelines include some key exceptions that should make the transition a little easier. The Guidelines have outlined exceptions to requirements ” in cases where major structural elements make total compliance impractical or impossible,” as long as health and safety conditions of the facility are not reduced by the exception. According to Health Facilities Management magazine, the exceptions include:
- Routine repairs and maintenance to buildings, systems or equipment shall not require improvements to a building system.
- Replacement of building furnishings and movable or fixed equipment only require improvements to the building systems, if any, that serve that equipment and only to the extent necessary to provide sufficient capacity for the replacement.
- Minor changes to the configuration of an existing space shall not require an upgrade of the entire space.
- Cosmetic changes or upgrades to an existing space shall not require an upgrade of the entire space.
- Improvements to a building system or a space that cannot reasonably meet the requirements of the Guidelines are permitted provided the improvement does not impair other systems or functions of the building.
- Existing systems that are not in strict compliance with the provisions of theGuidelines are permitted to continue in use unless the authority having jurisdiction determines such use constitutes a distinct hazard to life.
- Replacement of mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire protection equipment and infrastructure for maintenance purposes due to the failure or degraded performance of the components being replaced shall be permitted provided the health and safety of individuals in the facility is maintained at existing levels.
It looks like the guidelines have found the best of both worlds by regulating steady improvement in patient health and safety, while keeping reasonable expectations for firms involved in the design and construction of healthcare facilities.
However, keep in mind that while the exceptions do offer a lucky break in some cases, they can also make it more difficult to understand what exactly is required for a given project. Before you start any design work on a renovation or maintenance project, take a look at the updated 2014 FGI Guidelines to make sure you’re in compliance. If you find you have any questions about how the updated Guidelines or these exceptions might apply to a project, it is critical that you talk to a qualified consultant with experience in healthcare design and construction, just to make sure you’ve got all your bases covered.
How can AMI Environmental help protect building occupants and the reputation of owners?
At AMI Environmental, our main goal is to assist organizations and create a safe working environment, while adhering to government regulations. With decades of experience in healthcare, our Industrial Hygiene Professionals’ purpose is to help our clients not only protect building occupants and workers, but also to manage risk. Allowing you to then enjoy the peace of mind knowing everyone will be protected from harm. AMI will work with design professionals to establish and maintain a safe built environment, including surveying facilities for risks; provide testing within a facility; maintain testing protocol; and assist in the recording process. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Dan Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org.