Designing for the health sector isn’t easy, especially when the objective of increasing patient and staff comfort levels has to be balanced with functional requirements such as sturdiness, hygiene and durability.

As architects and designers involved in the construction and renovation of hospitals, health centres, doctors’ surgeries and nursing homes know, designing for the health sector requires considerable awareness of several key issues.

Factors critical to healthcare design

Acoustics, for instance, plays a crucial part in creating comfortable healthcare environments. Acoustic comfort facilitates patients’ recovery by ensuring privacy and keeping noise levels low.

Impact resistance is an important element in health sector design. Wall surfaces must be able to withstand wear and tear due to the high volume of staff, patients and visitors. Walls are also exposed to knocks from hospital beds, trolleys and equipment being constantly moved around, causing damage.

Hospital walls must be able to support a wide range of fittings and fixtures, from waiting room artwork and bathroom accessories to heavy equipment in speciality rooms, necessitating robust shelf loading capacity.

Aesthetics contributes immensely towards the mental and emotional wellbeing of both patients and staff. There is an increasing trend towards designing hospitals with patient‐centred features such as improved natural light, visitor-friendly facilities, well‐decorated rooms and hotel‐like amenities. There’s even a term for it – ‘healing architecture’. Read more about it in our blog Healing Healthcare and Acoustics in hospitals.

Hygiene and infection control are critical components of healthcare design. Robust internal surfaces and finishes are essential to maintaining wellness and must support a simple cleaning regimen, which will ensure a hygienic environment and prevent infection, especially in areas such as operating rooms.

Both the design and choice of materials must maximise fire resistance and protection throughout the healthcare facility.

Low maintenance water resistance solutions reduce moisture damage and mould growth in wet areas such as toilets, showers, laundries and kitchens.

TruRock and TruRock HD plasterboards

Knauf’s TruRock and TruRock HD are multifunctional, high performance plasterboards recommended for projects in the health sector, thanks to their sound insulation properties as well as resistance to impact, water and fire.

Developed to meet the specific needs of the Australian market, TruRock and TruRock HD offer a 4-in-1 plasterboard option that simplifies ordering, delivery and installation.

Key benefits of Knauf’s plasterboards include ability to resist the effects of wear and tear; high density gypsum core embedded with continuous fiberglass reinforcement and recycled heavy duty liner paper; easy repair and maintenance, minimising ongoing costs over the lifetime of the building; and broad application range.

TruRock HD has the same high-density core as TruRock but additionally incorporates mould resistance technology to dramatically reduce mould growth, even under severe conditions.

TruRock and TruRock HD from Knauf Plasterboard can be used in a wide range of commercial walls, ceilings and speciality systems for applications that demand impact, fire and water resistance as well as sound insulation. These boards are also an ideal substrate for tiles in wet areas.

TruRock and TruRock HD are also certified by Global GreenTag to GreenRate Level A, and will achieve 100% points for relevant materials categories.

Case Study: Queensland Children’s Hospital, Brisbane

TruRock was specified for Brisbane’s Queensland Children’s Hospital (formerly known as the Lady Cilento Hospital) upgrade project in 2014. The $1.5-billion facility features the multifunctional plasterboard in all the internal wall linings.

Commercial contractor Superior Walls & Ceilings suggested using Knauf’s 4-in-1 plasterboard, TruRock in its successful tender bid. TruRock not only met the requirements of the architect and builder, but also achieved cost savings and reduced the number of wall types and ongoing maintenance.

The contractor added that TruRock simplified the installation of internal linings because there was only one product on the job.