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Designing for short life: the emerging need for packaged reusable building services components in the UK healthcare sector

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conference contribution
posted on 17.04.2012, 12:42 authored by Roy S. Webb, John R. Kelly, Derek ThomsonDerek Thomson
Current and emerging influences in the general business environment often necessitate that businesses develop dynamic working methods by focusing on their short term function. Such function requires the support of flexible building spaces that can readily accommodate changes in the use of their internal spaces. Changing the use of space is often accompanied by changes in services requirements. If services installations are to be operated in an efficient, environmentally-friendly manner throughout building life, they must become adaptable at the time of space use change to readily satisfy revised performance requirements. The high cost of adapting services installations using current practices limits the flexibility of serviced usable spaces. The rising extent and complexity of services installations in all types of building further impedes the provision of the flexible buildings increasingly demanded by clients. This paper identifies the need for a new approach to the servicing of buildings. Packaged reusable building services components are proposed as a method of increasing services installation adaptability by reducing the cost of frequent alteration. Other industries are reviewed to identify aspects of existing reuse practices that may be transferred to construction to implement the reuse of building services components. Healthcare providers are exposed to influences necessitating their development of dynamic function. As healthcare providers also utilise buildings that are extensively serviced to stringent requirements, this sector is ideally suited for adoption of reusable services components. Successful utilisation in this sector will establish the premise for industry-wide adoption of reusable components. The paper concludes that the reuse of components or products may be viable, but further work is required to address the technical feasibility and economic viability of the proposal. It is perceived that component reuse will be a viable tool for use by healthcare sector building operators to better satisfy user demands for flexible building space which is likely to increase in the next millennium.



  • Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering


WEBB, R.S., KELLY, J.R. and THOMSON, D.S., 1998. Designing for short life: the emerging need for packaged reusable building services components in the UK healthcare sector. IN: Healthcare Engineering into the Next Millennium: Proceedings of the 15th International Congress of the International Federation of Hospital Engineering, 15th-19th June 1998, Edinburgh.


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This is a conference paper.