Fully-functioning hospitals shall be the backbone of society. The present UK hospital design procedure over-emphasises empirical knowledge and experimental research, but a lack of abilities to address new infectious diseases and the increasing global connectedness. During the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak, most of the infected healthcare workers were found to be associated with healthcare-associated infections. There is a pressing need to develop more resilient hospital built environments concerning the health and safety of frontline healthcare workers and patients
Our work aims to look into the key factors governing healthcare-associated infections (or nosocomial infections) due to contaminated built environments, with emphasis on respiratory illnesses. Human factors such as crowd flow patterns on the epidemic dynamics will be considered through agent-based modelling. This will help to assess the efficiency of present infection control approaches adopted by the hospital buildings, allowing for the development of more resilient healthcare facilities in a bid to better infection control and prevention.
This research is supported by the ICE Research and Development Enabling Fund which provides support to develop new and innovative ideas designed to tackle problems in civil engineering design and construction.
Airborne Transmission Modelling in a Clinical Facility
Some hospital facilities developed amid the pandemic such as the COVID-19 treatment centres can be recommissioned as normal clinics in the future. This can greatly benefit from prefabrication using modular construction derived from lightweight recycled materials. See more details about the concerning “Urban waste as a resource in civil engineering” project.
The area of research also covers resilient design and retrofitting of other infrastructure systems to meet specific demands, including ageing effects, increased traffic loads and natural hazards, such as earthquakes, heavy rainfall, floods or extreme temperatures, which are expected to intensify due to climate change. More details about this can be found here.