overlooked during the design phase of a recent project, forcing his team to tear
down the drywall it had installed and redesign the rooms.
“Part of the problem is that inspectors are usually brought in last on a construction project. In reality, you need inspectors and the health department to
be part of the drawing review,” he says.
Standards for safety features, such as emergency call systems, at assisted living
or skilled nursing facilities are also location-specific, says Andrew Smith, PMP,
director of innovation and strategy at Brookdale Senior Living in Nashville,
“Those systems may need to be wired to the building or, in other cases, wire-
less,” Mr. Smith says. “It’s important to consider the state-specific regulations.
For example, Tennessee has taken the higher standard for federal skilled nursing
and applied it to assisted living, and this may require additional investment.”
Given the special needs of patients with conditions such as Alzheimer’s
and other forms of dementia, memory-care facilities have unique require-
ments as well. For project managers, that means working actively with
vendors and proactively suggesting design solutions in the planning stages,
says Mr. Douglas. For example, buildings that cater to seniors with dementia
must have an architectural design that accounts for the circular walking pat-
terns common in people afflicted with the disease.
“Retirement homes are usually broken up into small sections, but you can’t
put a long corridor in a building where people get lost or easily confused,” Mr.
Because residents in these types of facilities may try to leave without knowing
where they are or where they’re going, project managers must also take a unique
look at security. Where most residential projects focus on keeping intruders out,
these facilities require access control systems that keep residents in without
compromising emergency exit routes, Mr. Douglas says.
“There are many issues related to wander management, and you have to get
out in front of them,” Mr. Douglas says. “If I go into a nursing home under
construction and see an exterior door without any wires near it, I know we’ve
missed something. It means that door isn’t going to be protected and I’m going
to have to tear up drywall.”
more and more
but it is not
—José Luis Lagos Martínez,
PMP, Acciona Infrastructure,
Acciona Infrastructure’s senior day center in the
Ventilla district of Madrid, Spain
Réseau Sélection’s Bleu
Horizon development in