Hospital Construction: Latest advancements
Indians actually have a culture of sustenance. Use and throw is not very common, recycling is a part of the Indian culture. So, if you look at hospitals of the past, lots of it were being built with brick and mortar, the traditional ways, moved on to blocks. But off late we have seen lots of new advancements coming from the western world being adopted by all the big chains, regional chains and even smaller hospitals coming up across India.
What used to be a kind of first initial big hospitals and specialities, are now becoming multi-specialities. We are seeing chains coming up in the interiors of India. Things have moved from Delhi to Lucknow and from Lucknow to Meerut. So, I think that’s something where the chains have worked. Use of new technologies like dry walls have been really seen in the Indian context for healthcare. If you look at structural changes, I think the biggest change has been the need for flexibility. There is a need for constant remodelling of spaces, and this is ongoing. I mean, I can quote an example from Surat where in 55,000 sq. ft. across 8 floors we built a 600-bed hospital within a span of just 17 days. It was fairly quick in terms of trying to build up new spaces with lesser labour on the ground and cost implications. Thus, managing to create spaces in less time with less labour and in the most sustainable manner was definitely something we saw widespread during the pandemic.
In fact, if we were to look at a live example, we have Madan Mohan Malaviya Cancer Hospital in Varanasi, BHU which was inaugurated by our Hon. Prime Minister Shri. Narendra Modi. This is a project spread over 5.86 lakh sq. ft., ground +7, 352 beds, and all of this was done in merely 10 months- between April of 2018 to February of 2019. And, it’s actually mentioned in the India Book of Records. Not only was it a speedy execution, it was also done with international standards in design as well as execution. By execution we can look at the tools which were used, the kind of skill development initiatives that were done. The contractor Narsiji was really committed to this project. Even the architect had international standards for acoustics and for fire safety.
Hospital Construction: Impact of COVID-19
Specifically, if we look at it from the angle of the pandemic, earlier we used to have lot more air, sunlight kind of structures. But now spaces are being created with more modular partitions coming up. And with it, not only are we looking at isolation areas, doffing units are in. We are also seeing trends in terms of more space for social distancing across. I believe quite a few changes from hospitals in terms of their infrastructure post pandemic.
Hospital Designing: Trends
We are seeing dry walls as a solution being adopted across all hospital chains. It is more in terms of patient care for lessening of healing times and staff productivity. These are the trends we are seeing in evolving hospital designs very clearly. In terms of acoustic comfort, the need for biophilic designs and good air quality take precedence. If you look at solutions for acoustic comfort they not only focus on absorption of sound, but also insulation of sound. We see many cases where patients in ICCU have been given drugs to regulate their melatonin because they are cut-off from daylight. Hence, the ability to use glass through windows, making sure that the light is used with biophilic designs, is something which is definitely a growing trend. Like I said, giving superior privacy and good air quality have reduced the patient care time. Of course, from the pandemic perspective, hygiene has become a very critical point, evidently so.
Hospital Construction: Hygiene Concerns
Designers are today looking for building materials that are clean, easy to maintain, materials that don’t collect germs on the surface- the mold, termites. And this is not only from a ceiling perspective, even in wet areas that require dry wall partitions, are aspects where Gyproc is able to provide solutions to all our customer base.
Hospitals of the future
In terms of the future of healthcare, I think a big thrust has come through Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana. We are seeing institutes like AIIMS coming across in wide places in terms of cities from Guntur, Kalyani, Nagpur, Jamshedpur. The list is fairly wide. In that sense, there is a need for healthcare to reach the rural of this country as well, that’s critical. But, while we are looking at expansion of healthcare, I think it’s very important for us to make sure that our building codes are in line with the latest trends in sync with the global guidelines. If we can work towards the designs which are lot more consumer friendly, I think that’s something we should definitely work towards.
I believe, as manufacturers, what all of us need to work towards, and Gyproc is definitely leading, is adoption of softwares like BIM, making sure that we have distributed manufacturing. We have material solutions, design solutions that are in line with the latest across the globe. I think it’s very important to look at the entire spectrum. Work with the entire ecosystem – the architects, the contractors, skill applicators, the government, building codes. This will be critical to look at as we go through the journey of creating healthcare for future.