Managing Margins: Overdesign In Hospital Building Services

Jones, D. A.; Eckert, C. and Garthwaite, P. (2020). Managing Margins: Overdesign In Hospital Building Services. In: Proceedings of the Design Society: DESIGN Conference, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 215–224.



The capacity of building services in many hospitals exceeds the requirements by significant amounts. Oversizing of building services has a direct impact on building efficiency and operational costs, ultimately impacting upon patient care, by diverting much needed funding. A key factor leading to the oversizing is the excessive and uncoordinated application of design margins across various project stages. Based on a hospital case study, this paper analyses the reasons for the overdesign of a replacement cooling system and raises the importance of managing margins activity to avoid overdesign.

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