For anyone who works on the design and construction of healthcare facilities, you know all too well the necessary evil of the many codes, standards, and other compliance issues that must be tackled throughout the process of not only building those facilities but in maintaining them across decades of use.

And in coming years we’ll see two major players change the scope of their guidance. First, though, it’s important that this community be informed on the updates being proposed and respond to them.

A public comment period has begun for the 2014 edition of the Facility Guidelines Institute’s Guidelines for Design and Construction of Health Care Facilities. It will run through Nov. 22, 2012.

At the same time, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) pushed its ballot date for LEED 2012 until June 1, 2013, after originally scheduling it for Aug. 15, 2012.

Here is a breakdown of the recent updates from both organizations.

FGI Guidelines
A draft manuscript of the 2014 Guidelines can be found at To submit comments, you must register with the site.

Among the proposed changes up for review are several new risk assessments, updated commissioning guidance, staff nap rooms in hospitals, and medication safety zones.

Overall changes include:

  • Division of the publication into two documents, one for hospitals and outpatient facilities and one for residential health care facilities and related support facilities (The latter document will be released for public comment at the end of the summer.)
  • Introduction of medication safety zone requirements in sync with U.S. Pharmacopeia requirements for the physical environment.
  • Operating room design classifications based on infection risk, size of surgical team, quantity and size of medical equipment, and anesthesia used.
  • Updated pre- and postoperative patient care area guidance.
  • Updated common requirements for laboratories, pharmacies, and food and nutrition services.
  • Updated common requirements for central services, linen services, and other general support areas.
  • Updated guidance for selecting surfaces for healthcare environments.
  • New common requirements for window treatment and privacy curtain materials.
  • Consistency in language across the document.

(For more on the proposed changes, see Public Comment Period Opens for 2014 FGI Guidelines.)

LEED 2012 (LEED v4)
The USGBC is delaying the ballot on LEED 2012 in an effort to provide the marketplace a view of the full LEED program prior to voting, with a fifth public comment period being added. Due to the delay, the update is now being renamed LEED v4.

The fourth public comment draft includes a number of changes from previous drafts, including addressing fundamental prerequisite barriers (including energy, water, and commissioning), simplifying calculations, among other edits.

Other issues involving LEED include:

  • Keeping LEED 2009 open for registration for three years.
  • Continuing to ask for the market’s assistance in "test driving" LEED v4 to gain insight during a time when improvements in usability infrastructure can be made.
  • Committing to a fifth public comment that will open on Oct. 2, 2012, and run through Dec. 10, 2012, to take advantage of Greenbuild, where USGBC will hold public forums and educational sessions on site in San Francisco.