Designing for short life: a study into the development of reusable packaged building services components in the healthcare sector

Industry concerns regarding the increasing contribution of services installations to total project cost have highlighted the need to develop new methods of designing, procuring, constructing, utilising and disposing of services components. Additionally, the shift in operational focus of many industrial sectors towards short term requirements for built space to perform a particular function requires a new approach to the recovery of services components. The UK national health service is illustrative of a construction industry client whose operational need, in terms of supporting built estate, can be met with utilisation of reusable services components. The varied influences on the manner by which healthcare services are provided necessitate a short term approach to functional space provision and therefore frequency of change in the services requirements of internal space. Packaged reusable services components reduce the cost of services installation adaptation through recovery of residual un-depreciated capital and un-utilised physical life embodied in the functionally redundant components recovered from applications of short term duration. The paper concludes that reuse has been identified as valid business practice and is considered appropriate for use in the development of the readily adaptable buildings required by construction industry clients. Further work is required to derive methodologies for the design and procurement of packaged services components for reuse.