Medical office building requirements are unique compared to standard office buildings for reasons regarding safety and functionality. Medical practices are kept up to a higher cleanliness standard than regular offices, and require high-efficiency technology. What exactly are building requirements when it comes to a medical office building? At Plaza Companies, we are adept in ensuring all of the buildings in our property management portfolio are up to date with all medical office building requirements. Here are some important ones to note.
- Building Codes
According to the International Building Code, medical office buildings are considered “business-use” structures, even though they are for health and medical care. If a medical tenant bill for services to Medicare or Medicaid, a building must comply with the Guidelines for Design and Construction of Outpatient Facilities. These guidelines, provided by the Facility Guidelines Institute (FGI), have rules ranging from plumbing fixture requirements and minimum room size to safety measures.
Medical offices must be prepared to accommodate a wide range of diagnostic and treatment technology. New patient-centered technology equipment is improving patient experiences. For example, in-time scheduling lowers the wait time and self-service kiosks can limit the number of people in the waiting room, which is important in the current public health environment. A medical office building has to be up-to-date with the latest capabilities to accommodate medical technology.
Materials must be able to be sterilized and/or antibacterial for disease control. The FGI determines what materials are permitted for cleanability. Also, depending on the type of medical service that is being practiced, there may be regulatory requirements with more strict material finishes requirements.
It may not come to mind immediately, but the FGI specifies acoustic requirements regarding Sound Transmission Coefficient (STC) and Outdoor-Indoor Transmission Class (OITC). An example is when there is a shared wall between a private exam room and waiting room, there has to be a high STC to maintain doctor-patient confidentiality for HIPAA. Another example is ensuring that there is not a lot of background noise from exterior elements such as construction and traffic.
Finally, the design of the building is one of the most crucial requirements of a medical office. Design influences the way a medical practice flows and the experience patients have. For example, a mental rehabilitation center needs more discrete ways to exit the building without exiting through the waiting room. Also, lighting is another part of the design to pay attention to. Is there enough natural light for a proper examination or treatment experience? Or, if there is no natural light, is it bright enough to perform medical operations?
Plaza Companies is proud to provide exceptional property management and leasing for medical office buildings. Search our properties to find out more.