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Building Products April 2017

HOTELS, LEISURE AND HEALTHCARE FIT AND FORGET FAÇADES What considerations need to be addressed in the specification for façades in healthcare projects? Brian Newell has some of the answers. When it comes to building fabric, the APRIL 2017 | BUILDING PRODUCTS 17 chosen system needs to have low maintenance and longevity benefits that will facilitate a ‘fit and forget’ approach. The façade specification must also answer aesthetic requirements which, in some locations, may also include selecting materials that reference surrounding buildings or meet planning or heritage requirements. For some extension schemes, the matching of an existing building may also need to be considered. And, of course, the chosen façade system must also meet the operational needs of the building and support high standards of thermal and acoustic performance, ventilation and weatherproofing protection.On matters of buildability, the specifier must consider speed, ease and flexibility of installation, product availability, consistency of product quality and lead times for delivery to site. Factors including the size and weight of panels, the fixing method and whether the façade will be delivered to site as installation-ready panels are all critical to the buildability strategy. While aesthetics are important for any building, there is a particular emphasis on the visual and textural appeal of façades in the healthcare sector, linked to trends in wellbeing-focused design. Architects are increasingly taking inspiration from the hospitality sector in the design of hospitals, creating an aesthetic more akin to contemporary hotels than the austere institutions of the past. The philosophy is that creating a more welcoming and relaxing healthcare environment will reduce patient anxiety and increase wellbeing, improving positive outcomes. The façade, as the first point of contact between the patient and the hospital, needs to humanise the building and this can be done with colour and texture. Panel sizes can also be adjusted to create a human scale for larger hospital complexes. Design influences on a hospital’s façade vary depending on the hospital’s remit and context. For example, a children’s hospital often incorporates brightly coloured cladding panels to create a child-friendly welcoming building and a material that’s available in multiple colourways and finishes allows design flexibility in this regard and can enable colour accents contrasting with a more neutral palette. A wide range of colours and finishes is also helpful for specifiers selecting a façade system for an extension to an existing hospital or an overcladding project that needs to complement legacy buildings. Maintaining that high end Continued on page 18 >>>


Building Products April 2017
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