Operating Rooms


Design, construction and operation of an OR Department

More than ever OR projects are nowadays characterized by a greater need for communication between the client, the architect and the consulting engineer.

The advantages of a cooperated input are a transparent discussion and a quick decision-making process. The independent consultant could play a central role as intermediary, since he is combining practical know-how and product knowledge with technical possibilities.

Also, he can make the translation to a conceptual lay-out. In this way the guidelines, user demands, developments in the medical-technical field and future expectations will be worked out into a concrete concept and an overall design from the start.

The guide ‘Development of Integral OR-Concepts’ (*) drops the old patterns and can in this way form a basis in the discussion and the decision-making process. Endless discussions and meetings during the building process can thus be avoided.

Development of Integral OR-concepts

The method that has been used in setting up the guide is particularly based on documentation and literature-research in the fields of:

  • Designs of Operating Departments
  • Logistics and use of the facility
  • Technical and medical developments and equipment
  • Infection prevention and contamination control

Innovative ideas, practical knowledge and common sense have greatly contributed to the development of several conceptual lay-outs.

The guide 'Development of Integral OR-Concepts' is based on a clinical ORD/OR, primarily focused on a central Operation Suite (OS). In the guide several lay-outs and techniques are displayed, each with their own specific features.

Practice of the Guide

Obviously, in the discussions with the people involved, it should be clearly stated that every design is based on the logistic triangle of patients, employees and goods.

In addition to this logistical basis, the next point of interest is the prevention of surgical site infections by discussing the conceptual lay-out and drawing attention to the behavior and discipline of the team members.

In the conceptual lay-out the ‘real’ OR-suite is separated from the rest of the department. This means there will be no changing rooms close to the clean OR-corridor and no coffee room or offices within the suite between the OR’s and the sterile storage room.

Other considerations are the number of OR’s and their sizes, flexibility and execution, combining scrub and other minimally used rooms, and the choice for individual induction rooms or instrument preparation rooms.

Inside the OR we see the introduction of a large Ultra Clean Ventilation Unit above the surgical field and the sterile instrument tables. This Unit provides a continuous dow

nflow of clean air, which is an effective prevention against SSI.


Comparing the various lay-outs that have been developed so far shows that great gains can be made in the functional use of the available floor space. This especially reveals itself in the compact concepts with a decrease in separate spaces and an increase in larger central rooms.

For this reason and those mentioned above, a strong cooperation between all the parties involved in the design phase will ultimately result in the best outcome.

‘De Block Consultant’ can play an independent and innovating role in the process of designing and equipping OR departments.

The Guide 'Development of Integral OR-concepts' (unfortunately only in Dutch, can be downloaded here: