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New standard for hospital design requires single patient rooms

The Canadian Standards Association has launched the first comprehensive standard for the planning and design of hospitals and other health care facilities.


The Canadian Standards Association has launched the first comprehensive standard for the planning and design of hospitals and other health care facilities.

The 400-page CSA Z8000 Health Care Facilities Standard incorporates and references several existing CSA technical standards for health care facilities, such as standards for HVAC, lighting and commissioning. However, CSA Z8000 is the first document to be all-encompassing. 

According to the CSA announcement: “Before now there was no common national standard for the design and construction of hospitals and other health care facilities. Each health care facility building project undertaken in Canada has relied on the knowledge and resources available to the architects and consultants engaged. This standard sets out requirements and addresses concerns specific to health care facilities, beyond what is contained in building codes and guidelines. The new standard provides a cohesive, nationally recognized baseline for health care facility design and construction/renovation.”

Michael Keen, who chaired the 33-person committee that formulated the new standard and who is also an engineer, a project director and director of planning at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, expects that the standard will be adopted at least in part by most Canadian health care authorities.

According to Keen, one of the standard’s most noteworthy features is its requirement for single patient rooms. The reason for this recommendation is that single patient rooms have been found to help cut down on the spread of infections in hospitals, which is a common problem. According to CSA, 220,000 people every year acquire infections while visiting or staying in health care facilities in Canada. 

The standard also specifies the number of isolation rooms required.  In also lays out the specific design parameters for fixtures such as handwashing sinks and requires that rooms are fitted with certain infrastructure to support patient lifts.

Another important feature of the standard is a requirement for extensive building and systems commissioning before a new building or addition is occupied.

The standard follows best U.S. and European practices and applies to health care facilities of every type and size, both new buildings and additions.

Covering five areas in all:  operations, accessibility, safety and security, infection control and sustainability, the standard is expected to help facilities cope with everything from pandemics, to providing improved security around newborns and those with dementia.