Appropriate and Safe Buildings

Photo by Steve Sara / MCSP

Appropriate Resources:

No international standards exist for building construction and design of HCFs. The U.S. National Institute of Building Sciences revised its While Building Design Guide in 2017. The guide includes building design considerations for HCFs. The webpage includes an overview of considerations and resources. In 2009, the International Code Council published the International Building Code, which includes standards for HCFs.

Note: National policies and standards should also be consulted when designing appropriate and safe HCF buildings.

Appropriate Staff, Process and Management Considerations

HCF management should ensure that building operations and maintenance responsibilities are assigned to HCF staff. Designated staff should have established protocols for monitoring and repairing building ventilation, lighting and access issues.

MCSP Rapid Assessment Questions:

To improve the HCF environment, each HCF can consider the following questions from MCSP’s HCF rapid assessment tool. The tool was adapted from WHO’s Essential Environmental Standards in Health Care.

Design and construction Operation and maintenance
  • Is the ventilation of the HCF designed to minimize airborne disease transmission, e.g., severe acute respiratory syndrome?
  • Is the ventilation of the HCF appropriately managed and health-care workers properly trained?
  • Is the lighting system of the HCF sufficient to ensure safe working conditions and security, and is it appropriate to local conditions?
  • Is the lighting system correctly operated and maintained?
  • Is the HCF easily accessible by people with physical handicaps and does it have sufficient space (e.g., between beds) to minimize the spread of contamination?
  • Is space in the HCF used in the most effective way for easy access and to minimize the spread of contamination?

Additional Tools and Resources for Appropriate and Safe Buildings in HCF settings:

  • In 2017, WHO & UNICEF published the WASHFit Tool, which includes essential indicator and advanced indicator assessment tools for building construction and design (Tool 2), risk assessment templates (Tool 3), and improvement plan templates (Tool 4).