A Tale of Two Projects

October 30, 2007

Whether it’s a 5,000-Sq.-ft addition or a $185 million free-standing building, most of the health care facilities we’ve designed during the past decade share the same lateral force resisting system: a steel moment frame. This preference is the result of special design requirements for “essential facilities,” as well as the unique combination of a need for long life and renovation flexibility in health-care construction. Most hospital buildings are considered essential facilities, which the 2003 International Building Code defines as “buildings and other structures that are intended to remain operational in the event of extreme environmental loading from flood, wind, snow, or earthquakes.” At the same time, it’s typical for health-care buildings to be kept in service longer than the typical 50-year life cycle. However, medical campuses frequently morph and change – constructing new facilities, demolishing outdated buildings, and renovating and adding on to existing buildings – all in an effort to keep up with the constantly evolving “state-of-the-art” for modern medicine and clinical practices. Because of this “ever-changing” mentality, owners and architects prefer to use structural systems that provide as much future flexibility as possible.

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Modern Steel Construction