If You Are a Healthcare Architect, You’ll want to Read these FAQs on Adjustability

When it comes to layout and design of healthcare bathrooms, one of today’s hottest topics is “Adjustability.”

Functional room

If You Are a Healthcare Architect, You’ll want to Read these FAQs on Adjustability

When it comes to layout and design of healthcare bathrooms, one of today’s hottest topics is “Adjustability.”

When it comes to layout and design of healthcare bathrooms, one of today’s hottest topics is “Adjustability.”   Adjustability lets individuals with physical limitations quickly reposition wall-mounted bathroom fixtures in order to overcome difficulties caused by inconvenient height or location.

Adjustability is a whole new area of opportunity for healthcare architects. Here’s why. The ability to reposition fixtures such as sinks can translate into significant project benefits, including easier compliance with existing standards, tangible space savings, and lower construction costs per facility footprint.  

Q: Why is fixture adjustability important for architects?

A: Bottom line – it saves space.  For example, by providing the ability to slide a sink sideways on the wall architects can more easily accommodate existing guidelines for minimum wheelchair turning radii – which in turn allows you to reduce the square metres required for each of the facility’s bathrooms!  If you can reduce bathroom square metres, there’s a good chance you’ll also be able to document savings in total construction costs as well as the cost per square metre per resident.  Further, this capability is also a great differentiator for your facility.

Q: Isn’t this a more expensive solution than standard mounting? 

A: Not necessarily.  Any additional project expenses such as wall reinforcements or purchase and installation of mounting rails can be largely offset by those potential space savings. This means it’s a very budget friendly approach per total project, and in many projects it may well allow you to increase the number of living units within the same overall exterior footprint. Note: In one Boston-based facility, simply by reducing bathroom size the architect was able to add nine new patient rooms to the project within the same exterior footprint!

Q: Are there functional or operational benefits?

A: Definitely yes.  Residents with disabilities or physical limitations will benefit through easier access to bathroom fixtures that can be custom-positioned to their exact needs.  For example, X-Y adjustability allows them to move a sink in moments from a standing level to the safest level needed for an individual seated in a wheelchair.   Another example, fold-down grab bars can be repositioned to match the exact height and width requirements of a frail or disabled user who wishes to use a toilet.   And, please note that caregivers also benefit because optimal positioning of fixtures can help reduce back injuries and make their jobs easier and safer.  

Q: Are there other uses for this technology?

A: Certainly.  Of importance to architects, these same products and techniques apply to all different kinds of facilities beyond healthcare -- including college dormitories, commercial buildings, group homes, hotels, sporting arenas, and senior assisted living facilities. 

Architects working