While units of measurement are fixed: an inch, a foot, an acre, or centimeters, meters, hectares, there are different ways of measuring the same space. In the above gallery images, we show a case study that demonstrates how the same space may be measured multiple ways. At Page, we follow the AIA American Institute of Architects standards for both definitions and methods of calculating areas and volumes. Are you familiar with these common units of measurement in the architecture and engineering industry? The Importance of Metrics.

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HFM Daily offers blog coverage by the award-winning HFM editorial team and links to in-depth information on health care design, construction, engineering, environmental services, operations and technology. North American health care design has developed as a specialty that must meet high standards, including attention to accessibility, safety, technological advances, operational complexity, constant energy consumption and concern for the medical and clinical issues involved in the delivery of care.

Planners who provide the basic materials associated with a major hospital construction project must produce a project-briefing document that identifies the services to be provided and how they are expected to operate. Information from previous projects has always been used by planners to predict the space requirements for proposed projects.

The data collected on past projects comes from area calculation measurements. An important concern is that different consultants, firms and individuals have used slightly different methods to calculate area allocated to departments and buildings. The two most common models for measuring area in North American health care projects are the American Institute of Architects AIA methods of calculating areas and volumes of buildings and the Canadian Standards Association CSA area measurement for health care facilities.

The AIA document is useful only for calculating the gross area of a building and does not address departmental calculations. The CSA document introduces calculations for the area allocated to a floor and calculation of net areas. These standards have not been sufficient for consistent health care planning accuracy. Neither identifies a method for calculating the gross area associated with a department, which is a critical planning category for the program of space requirements in a hospital, clinic or medical school.

Consultants, designers and other users, therefore, have adopted personal and idiosyncratic methods to build sophisticated calculation models that include net square footage NSF , departmental gross square footage DGSF , building gross square footage BGSF and net-to-gross factors. Without consistent nomenclature for departmental names and hospital services, programmers have been able to use this kind of data with varying predictive accuracy and success to plan health care projects.

The questions of accuracy and consistency continue to be a concern, especially because health care space is so expensive to build. Neither the AIA nor CSA document addresses measurement and reporting for typical building components such as stairs and elevators, or space dedicated to mechanical or electrical services. The information associated with these and other characteristics can provide additional clarity about the historical allocation of area within a health care project. Also excluded from the documents is a consistency associated with departmental measurements and naming conventions.

In the past, subsets of building gross calculations were rarely called out separately in publicly available documents. Accurate accounting for subsets of building gross space — including mechanical, electrical, communications, nondepartmental corridors, stairs, vertical transport, miscellaneous structure and exterior wall thickness — allows for a more nuanced understanding of the building elements.

Other standards or guidelines for measuring building areas are important for facility and property managers, especially when dealing with a facility extension, sale, lease or renovation. To date, there are two organizations involved in developing area measurement standards for built facilities:. Calculation of the physical area within health care has long been important for planning and design, construction estimating, engineering analysis, capital budgeting, facility management, space allocation and financial reimbursement.

Despite common usage of these two standard methods, some leeway has been given for individual interpretation, so different individuals and firms have reported statistics that have not been calculated in the same fashion.

For some purposes, this has not been a problem because the differences may have been within acceptable limits.

For others, such as when developing a program of space requirements and an accompanying budget for a large hospital construction project or for accurately calculating important reimbursements, greater precision and consistency are needed. With advice from a council of practitioners, the team developed precise methods for making calculations to ensure consistency. From left: An open nurse work area off a corridor, post-anesthesia care unit stations in a nondepartmental corridor and scrub sinks in alcoves off a nondepartmental corridor.

The team used calculations of the areas for 36 recent hospital projects to test the methodology and identify the ranges of areas constructed for each major hospital department. Caution should be used when employing the data from these calculations. The study examples may not represent the full range of possibilities in recent or future hospital construction.

To test the methodology, the research team used software for computer-aided drafting to conduct consistent area takeoffs from drawings of 36 completed projects provided by practitioners. As each project was measured, consistency was maintained with identical sequences of measurement operations.

Ambiguous situations were identified and policy was adopted and documented. The resolutions of ambiguity not addressed by the AIA or CSA documents were reviewed by a council of practitioners, including programming consultants and representatives of the firms providing projects to be measured.

The line-item calculations allow greater understanding of allocation of services within a health care building. The percentage of building gross area allocated to stairs and elevators, for example, will be different in one-story, low-rise or high-rise configurations. While the area calculations are an important record of what was built, the various ratios and percentages are especially important for projecting space needs in future projects.

The new methodology covers many scenario-specific considerations to calculate individual health care spaces. A few edited examples of considerations covered in the methodology include:. Nondepartmental corridors. Factors involved in nondepartmental corridors include:. This methodology offers accuracy and consistency without varying from compatibility with the most prominent U.

Every sector of the health care design, construction and facility management field is encouraged to use the proposed calculation method. They can be reached at khamilton tamu. HFM Daily HFM Daily offers blog coverage by the award-winning HFM editorial team and links to in-depth information on health care design, construction, engineering, environmental services, operations and technology.

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Area Calculation for Health Care.


A new method for calculating health care spaces



D101 – 1995



AIA D101-1995: Architectural Area & Volume of Buildings


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