the new CSA Z800 standard

CSAZ8000 1 Hour Webinar
CSA-Z8000-11 1-Hour Webinar

A few weeks ago, I watched the two-hour Complimentary Web Information Session on the New Standard for Design and Construction of Canadian Hospitals & Health Care Facilities (CSA Z8000-11). It was a 2  hour presentation and question period introducing the standard from a panel of authors. This webinar no longer exists, but instead, you can purchase a 1-hour one on how to use the guide itself.

The Z8000 Standard provides requirements and guidance for the planning, design, and construction of Canadian health care facilities. It is intended to be used by all facilities providing health care services regardless of type, size, location, or range of services. The Health Care Facility shall be planned and designed through the use of a project process, which includes several stages of planning to identify health needs of the catchment community and the expected role of the Health Care Facility; the translation of those needs into services/activity levels; and calculate space requirements of the services and a facility plan to accommodate the space. Each step in the process builds on the previous and a complete planning process should maintain this sequence to ensure a fully integrated and thought-out facility plan. ~ the description for the CSAZ8000 webinar

The CSA Z8000 is a complex 400+ page book, outlining all the different programmatic elements that can take place within a health care facility. Meant more as a guide than a manual for healthcare design, the group that put authored the CSA Z8000 (made up of architects, healthcare professionals, provincial ministry experts) hopes each province will adopt the standard as part of their building codes, thereby enacting the minimum requirements into law. For now, the provincial members plan to use the standard as part of the RFP (request for proposal) process, streamlining the application process for consultants and P3 (Public-Private Partnership) projects. When design-build groups propose buildings, the Ministry of Health can use the guide to evaluate the types of spaces being used, the requirements for adjacencies, the required elements within the spaces and their sizing to determine if the buildings supplied are comparable across the country.

I’ve worked on both Healthcare Facilities (Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital – OSMH with Parkin Architects Limited in Toronto among others) and I’ve worked on initial designs through complex programs (OSMH and the Earth Systems Science Building feasibility study with Colborne Architectural Group Pacific, Ltd.). While the new healthcare standard doesn’t replace proper programming for hospitals, I think it will help anyone doing initial schematic design and master planning proposals as they try to get initial planning concepts down. Tables that guide adjacencies, combined with alternate arrangements, reduces the constant “reinventing of the wheel” that often takes place during the initial design phases. However, on the other side, it may eliminate some questions that should be asked on occasion, like “should these 2 units really be put next to each other? what if we separated them?” These questions propel designers to rethink hospitals, and inspire projects like the winners from the Small Hospital, Big Idea Competition.

If you’d like to participate in the live webinars, they occur on May 22nd and May 29th, 2012.

In the mean time, has anyone started using the CSA Z800-11 as part of their design? If so, please let me know what your experience has been.

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