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medical facilities design

How to design medical facilities: the complete technical guide

How to design medical facilities: Structural, system, premise management requisites  for sanitary use with  layouts, floor plans and 3D models to download

In the previous article, we made an introduction to healthcare architecture, analyzing its variables, following relating regulations aspects t and introducing design criterias.

We conclude our analysis focusing on the main technical elements while designing this kind of structures, with particular attention for the inpatient hospital rooms, furnitures and interior finishes of waiting rooms, (exterior) paths and other  areas.

The analysis will always be integrated with  an actual project together with a 3D model, renderings and DWG project drawings that you can access with Edificius, the architectural software used to produce them.

How to design medical facilities


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Finishes and furniturs for waiting rooms


Horizontal and vertical partitions such as  floors and walls covering have to meet two standard requirements in the health facilities: Hygiene and durability.

Horizontal partitions – Floors

Floors have to satisfy durability standards against people and materials high traffic levels, highly corrosive actions of cleaning and disinfecting products. Floors have to be perfectly smooth, waterproof and antistatic.



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Horizontal partitionsCeiling

Ceiling treatments are usually solved by using  false ceilings. This solution  allows you to install technological,  medical  and lightning systems.  False ceiling panels have to be removable to give access for inspections and maintenance. They have to also guarantee acoustic comfort (soundproof) and be certified against fire hazard.

Ceilings are another important element to focus on during the designing process. Patients that are being transported on stretchers, laying on a bed or in a wheelchair, usually look towards the ceiling, therefore the dropped ceiling have an important role in the definition of an architectural space of the hospital.
Neutral colour and pattern solutions and repetitive geometric elements of the  false ceiling are recommended to ease on the patient.

How to design medical facilities


Internal vertical partitions – Wall coverings

Internal wall coverings have to meet hygiene and aspect  requirements and be easy to equip. In rooms with a large amount of technological medical devices (surgical stays, resuscitation rooms, intensive care, disease control rooms, etc..), walls are required to have accommodation for medical and technological devices with an easy access for inspections and maintenance.

Vertical partition wall joints have to be perfectly sealed, non-porous and easy to clean. They also have to be scratch, shock (collision, hits,strikes) and chemical resistant and  have to guarantee soundproofing between rooms.

The use of modular systems let you insert  transparent elements (clear panels) that will allow hospital personnel to monitor constantly patient in need.

How to design medical facilities



Comfortable seating areas are an important element for the waiting rooms and reception areas. Tables and tops also have to be sufficiently big to assure comfort.

It is important to focus particularly on the height of the reception desktops. They should not be too high. It is also important to get rid of elements that can obstruct communication ways such as: glass walls and windows, intercom, materials and tools that can cause distance between the person that is receiving and the one that is being received.

Throughout hallways and inpatient rooms the installation of handrails is recommended to facilitate walking.

How to design medical facilities_isometric view


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In the usual disposition of the furniture, especially along hallways, it’s necessary to take in consideration spaces that allow beds and stretchers to turn around. The minimal width of a hallway is approximately 230 cm, that is necessary for the transit of two beds or one bed with hospital personnel. In order to turn around a bed or stretcher 300 cm are needed.


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Other primary elements to protect walls from being struck by stretchers, carts, beds are rubber/PVC/aluminium bumpers that are placed at a critical height on the walls. Baseboards have to be designed to resist hits from cleaning machines and chemical cleaning products. Also, to protect corners it is necessary to install angular profiles.



Designing areas and paths

Areas and Paths

A correct beds distribution in a hospital room allows you to transfer the patient from the bed to a stretcher or a wheelchair or to fit a crib in the maternity ward  and also to guarantee an eventual displacement of any kind of cart.

In the orthopaedic stays the room dimensions have to be suitable for traction tools, allowing people with motor handicaps to freely move.



Download the project prospect DWG

How to design medical facilities: Hospital rooms design criteria

The minimal furnishing elements in a hospital room should include beds, cribs for new-borns and toilets.

The configuration of an hospital rooms can bed single bedded or multiple bedded rooms.

In the case of a multiple bedded room, dividing elements are necessary to separate patients without being an obstacle to hospital personnel in the monitoring of the patients situation. In case of disabilities of the patient room dimensions and furnishing can vary to allow patient to easily move in the room with a wheelchair.

Furthermore, in intensive care and resuscitation rooms there are different devices and different bed sizes.

Harvey-Pediatric-Clinic_overall view_Render_Edificius_software-BIM-architecture


In the design process of this areas we need to consider that the patient is bedded, constantly monitored and attached to life support devices, hooked to a pipe above the bed header and to the ceiling. More devices are in the room, more surfaces and heights are needed. Also, the room’s access is bound by asepsis measure and can need a aseptic vestibule.

A one-bed hospital room has to have enough space to fit an extra bed or couch (sofa) to accommodate visitors.



This is particularly necessary in the pediatric department. In a hospital room, besides beds, built-in or freestanding closets, nightstands are needed. On top of that, dividing elements must be provided between beds such as simple curtains or actual closing panels. In this case, natural light from windows has to be guaranteed also for the furthest beds.

For privacy purposes the room entrance should be set in a way that people passing by the room should not be able to see the patient when doors are open and, at the same time, not interfering with the transit of stretchers and wheelchairs.

While designing inpatient areas we should take in consideration that patients are mostly laying down, therefore, windows should be designed in a way that patients and children can be able to easily look outside. In order to have the minimal total height of the parapet equal to 100 cm., the lower part of the window could have a honed finish 69 cm. from the floor and a clear upper part.


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