Benefits of Building Mock Up Rooms for Healthcare

At the start of the design process, two of the most important things you and your staff can do is 1) tour other healthcare facilities that have similarities to your future building program and 2) build mock-up’s of those rooms that will be repeated in your facility, are highly technical, or are undergoing significant changes in workflow processes.  These can include patient rooms, ED exam rooms, clinic exam rooms, procedure rooms, ORs, and pre-post rooms/recovery rooms.  The benefits of building mockups include:

  • Confirm the room size: it is critical to test the proposed size against the simulated flow to be used by the staff, including cabinetry, equipment, and furniture layout.
  • Confirm the room layout: most healthcare staff find it difficult to understand floor plans.  Building a mock up room brings the scale, access, & spatial relationships much clearer to everyone.
  • Confirm power, switching, med gases, and equipment locations: the users can do simulations to nail down exactly where these items need to be mounted.
  • Practice Simulations: have staff simulate procedures and care routines.
  • Cost Savings: getting a room exactly how you want it before it is duplicated in construction a number of times can greatly reduce the number of expensive, post-construction revisions.

Physical mock-ups of a project’s most complex and repetitive spaces allow the staff, designers and builder to quickly analyze design alternatives, save time, reduce risk, and solve design issues prior to the start of construction. Room mock ups also allow the owner to ensure the best possible layout and space utilization.

Cardboard mock-upCardboard Recovery Room Mockup

To meet the changing needs of its patients, the Mississippi Valley Surgery Center hired BLDD Architects, Inc. to design their $8.5 million modernization project at its longtime facility in Davenport, IA.  This project, which includes a 16,500 sf addition as well as 9,500 sf of renovation of the existing facility, includes a Recovery Center consisting of 10 overnight recovery rooms, 3 new ORs, 6 PACU bays, nurses’ stations, offices, and support.  The renovated space includes 21 pre-op/post-op rooms, Central Processing Department, nurses’ stations, offices, & support.  BLDD utilized a cardboard mock-up of the new Recovery Rooms to work through the room size, layout, power/gas/ equipment locations, thus leading to improved final design and reduced cost due to minimizing post-construction revisions.

Steve Oliver, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP

Principal, Director of Healthcare

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