Today's Veterinary Business

FEB 2019

Today’s Veterinary Business provides information and resources designed to help veterinarians and office management improve the financial performance of their practices, allowing them to increase the level of patient care and client service.

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22 Today's Veterinary Business Business Business CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM A reader question came up regarding the viability of multistory hospitals. Given a choice, is it better for a clinic to be on a single floor or on multiple levels? Practice owners, of course, have nowhere to go but up in some instances. Think small sites and locations in dense urban areas where ground floors aren't big enough. My firm is working on an 80,300-square-foot hospital in India that is situated on less than an acre. The building is seven stories tall! Where the choice exists, though, is taller better? Like many questions related to design, the answer is, it depends. A common thought is that a smaller footprint allows for a smaller foundation and roof area, making the building less expensive. For some buildings, like houses, this often is true. And it certainly is true for large-scale, redundant floor-plan buildings such as apartments and office high-rises. When talking about animal hospitals, it's not so clear-cut. Gross Square Footage vs. Net Whenever more than one floor is involved, we need to factor in the requirements for vertical circulation, or the movement of people from one level to another. Depending on the building's size and use, you might need one or two exit stair- ways. Similarly, you might need an elevator. Those building features might not sound like much, but the dedicated space can add significantly to the size and cost of a structure. When my firm designs any project, we start with a building program — a list of needed spaces, their attributes and where they ideally would be located. This document becomes the basis of the design. The total sizes of these rooms is the net square footage. A measure of a building's space efficiency is the net-to- gross square footage. Reasonably efficient hospitals will have a 25 percent "grossing factor." That is the non-programmed areas for things like wall thicknesses, hallways and circulation, and incidental space. These will add 25 percent to the net square footage. A 6,400-net- square-foot hospital, for example, has 8,000 gross square feet. So, what effect would this math have on a two-floor plan compared with a single story? Excluding verti- cal circulation, we would have two floors of 4,000 square feet each. Because of the building's size, we would need two egress stairways and an elevator. Assuming a 12- foot floor-to-floor height, the stairs would take an additional 850 to 1,100 square feet. The smaller num- ber assumes minimal size while the larger one provides enough width for functional second-floor clinical use. An elevator compliant with the American With Disabilities Act would add another 250 square feet. Add in vertical circulation and our By Paul Gladysz, AIA, NCARB, CSI, ICC The highs and lows of hospital heights Single- and multistory buildings have their pros and cons. Do you know which design is generally the best? This two-story Indiana veterinary hospital houses clinical areas on the ground floor and administrative space above.

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