Healthcare facilities and logistics are planned to the operations’ needs
Sweco’s experts are involved in dozens of healthcare projects every year. In addition to project management and construction contracting, special knowledge is required for cost accounting, functional design and logistics design.
In healthcare projects, Sweco can be in charge of the entire project or an individual area, depending on the client’s needs. In addition to construction contracting, project management and supervision, knowledge is also required for the functional design of hospital and healthcare centre facilities.
“The goal of user-centric design is planning facilities that are required for the operations,” Sweco’s healthcare expert Kaisa Narvio summarises the idea. “We help the different user groups produce data and make timely decisions that the hospital designers need to advance the project.”
“We build faith in working together”
Hospital projects typically take a long time to complete, which means that the foundation for the co-operation needs to be laid with care. Often, a construction project is also a disturbance in a hospital area, and it is key that you build trust between the various parties and faith in working together. “It’s easier to cope with the everyday challenges if you’re aware of the project’s benefits from the start,” Narvio says.
For the experts to steer the project in the right direction amicably, the consultant needs to have experience of the field. “It’s extremely important to speak the same language as the users.”
For most clients, an extensive renovation is a once-in-a-lifetime experience; consultants face several large projects every year. “We work on varying healthcare sites, which gives us perspective for future projects,” Narvio says. The design of solutions never starts from scratch. “We have existing logistics networks of device suppliers, among others, through which we receive information on the newest technologies for the project.”
Changes to facilities have a cascade effect on hospitals
Sweco’s experts offer services for the entire lifecycle of hospital projects. Narvio emphasises that verification of initial data is one of the critical phases. “At the start of the project, it’s essential that you evaluate whether the initial data is sufficient for beginning the project.”
Most projects are based on changes in operations. “Most of the central hospitals in Finland are from the 60s or 70s, and they no longer meet today’s needs.”
The experts follow the sector’s trends actively. “Patient rooms are now being changed into one-person rooms, in which case you need to take the cascade effects of each change into account,” Narvio says. Changes in society as a whole also affect the needs of hospitals. “The newest example is a COVID-19 reserve hospital in Meilahti designed by Sweco architects.”
Design services from hospital logistics to cost accounting
Every year, Sweco’s experts in healthcare are involved in renovation and construction projects in both the public and the private sector.
“At the moment, we are in charge of the construction contracting and supervision of Ratamokeskus in Kouvola, and we are supporting the user-centric functional design of Mikkeli Central Hospital’s ESPER project,” Narvio says.
One of the most significant sites of recent years has been the first hospital alliance in Finland, the new hospital in Kainuu. “Sweco was responsible for nearly all design in Kainuu. We used the CAVE virtual space extensively to support the functional design, among other methods,” says Narvio.
Increasingly often, healthcare projects also require the conceptualisation of hospital logistics. “You can see the increase in automation and robotics in material logistics. Operators don’t want nurses and doctors to spend their time carrying or packing away goods.”
In logistics, various types of conveyors, pneumatic post, storage automation and mobile robots are used. “In the project planning phase of Laakso Hospital, we were the specialists for conceptualising the food supply and the commissioning review for mobile robots, among other aspects.”