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Adaptable healthcare facilities through modular solutions


  • Lauri Luoma-Halkola
  • Antti Peltokorpi
  • Riikka Kyrö


The healthcare industry is facing various challenges due to global megatrends, such as increasing average life expectancy, ageing population, technological advancements, urbanization and globalization. Currently, outdated hospital facilities are being thoroughly renovated in large and costly projects to meet contemporary operational requirements. Renovation work in hospital environments is particularly challenging, as the facility should remain operational during the renovation. Traditional ways of retrofitting tend to create a lot of disturbance, such as isolating sections for long periods, noise, and pollution. This study explores alternative ways to maintain a healthcare facility, without the need for major retrofits. The research approach is qualitative, utilizing stakeholder (owner - user - service provider) interviews as the main data. Based on the findings, the lifecycle sustainability of a hospital building would be improved if large, intrusive renovation projects could be replaced with multiple minor projects. Modular thinking could offer one solution to the problem. Modularity allows for more frequent minor maintenance procedures of hospital facilities, instead of major renovation cycles of decades. Modular solutions also reduce the operational downtime and costs, and create less onsite disturbance. On the other hand, modular solutions may be difficult to implement in existing buildings, which have not been originally designed to allow for such adaptability. Building on the interviews and review of existing literature, the study offers several potential solutions to improve the future adaptability and flexibility of hospital buildings. The benefits and challenges related to each solution are also discussed. The findings will benefit facility owners, managers and users, struggling with the requirements of contemporary healthcare facilities.

Suggested Citation

  • Lauri Luoma-Halkola & Antti Peltokorpi & Riikka Kyrö, 2017. "Adaptable healthcare facilities through modular solutions," ERES eres2017_213, European Real Estate Society (ERES).
  • Handle: RePEc:arz:wpaper:eres2017_213

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    Adaptability; Flexibility; Healthcare; Modularity; retrofitting;

    JEL classification:

    • R3 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location

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