Based upon the original federal regulations for hospital design and construction, the FGI Guidelines for Design and Construction documents are used by 40+ states in varying degrees to articulate and/or inform state regulations. Therefore this process guide utilizes the FGI’s functional programming format.
According to the FGI Guidelines, “The primary purpose of the functional program shall be to communicate the owner’s intent for the project to the designers of record as a basis for design at the initiation of the project” and “...shall be used to determine the application of the Guidelines when developing facility project”. Beyond these specific requirements, the Guidelines further emphasizes the foundational importance of every project, which is comprehensively impacted by the functional program: “Because the built environment has a profound effect on health, productivity, and the natural environment, hospital shall be designed within a framework that recognizes the primary mission of health care (including ”first, do no harm”) and that considers that larger context of enhanced patient environment, employee effectiveness, and resource stewardship.”
The FGI Guidelines requires these general components for a functional program: purpose of the project, operational requirements, project components & scope, indirect support functions, project type & size, construction type, occupancy & building systems, and executive summary
This Process Guide is intended to be scalable, in recognition of the wide-ranging project complexity possible. Regardless of project scope and scale, the Functional Program must be developed very early in project development to ensure regulatory consistency and compliance, and to maximize its value as the literal foundation of project planning, design, construction and implementation. The owner/governing body/sponsor is responsible for overseeing development of the Functional Program, since that entity is the primary source of legal, functional, clinical, operational and financial elements underlying the project.
There are five (5) broad steps in this process guide.
Identify functional & clinical information and input required for project and input required to inform the project that has been identified.
A functional program will clearly define the intended purpose of the project and how it will influence facility users, as well as the balance of the organization and local region/community.
Identify applicability of FGI and other standards that govern functional, operational & space requirements
How will the projects function, what performance improvement benefits are desired?
The published functional program and executive summary should clearly identify the Who, What, Why and How a project will be created. Ideally the functional program should be in a format that is:
YES, for the many jurisdictions utilizing the FGI Guidelines, all new construction and any project that changes the functional use of existing space requires the development of a functional program to communicate critical programmatic details of the owner’s intent to the project team. Additionally, individual states may also require a functional program to establish the regulatory basis for applicable state regulations and policy.
The project owner/governing body is responsible for ensuring that project requirements are clearly communicated to the project team, and the FGI Guidelines states that the governing body is responsible for having the functional program developed, documented and updated, though the correlation process and logistics of developing the program may be contracted out. In very broad terms, the multidisciplinary project team shares responsibility for their respective content as well as the overall combined content. However, it remains the governing body’s obligation to ensure that the resulting functional/clinical/operational content is an accurate reflection of its program/project requirements.
NO, while the FGI Guidelines includes an outline for basic information necessary for functional programs, governing bodies are free to reduce or expand that outline commensurate with scope & scale of the proposed project, as long as the basic information is clearly indicated. Furthermore, there is no mandated format for functional programs, whether analog or digital, as long as the necessary information is clearly articulated, readily available to the project team, and capable of being updated and revised as necessary.
The time required to develop an effective functional program, as well as the extent and complexity of the resulting program, depends upon the scope and scale of the project. The functional program typically serves as the basis for strategic planning, establishing time-frame & cost parameters, and subsequent project design & construction. As documentation of the governing body’s project requirements, the functional program must have sufficient clinical, programmatic, and operational detail to ensure the regulatory compliance, financial feasibility, and programmatic conformity required of all successful projects.
YES, the functional program is a valuable resource to guide & inform the entire project team throughout planning, design, construction, and occupancy of the project. As such it must be adaptable to changing conditions that may occur during project development to ensure that the governing body’s core program requirements are ensured.
As defined by the FGI Guidelines, the governing body is the person or persons who have the overall legal responsibility for the operation of a health care facility. Often, the owner is the governing body. This may be inclusive of several individuals, or an executive team.
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The Center for Health Design would like to acknowledge assistance from the Facility Guidelines Institute, which is responsible for the development and publication of the Guidelines, providing research-informed guidance for health and residential-care facilities. The Center for Health Design would also like to acknowledge its Environmental Standards Council, an all-volunteer group of dedicated professionals who have been working since 1994 to ensure that the Center’s mission is reflected in applicable standards. ESC members who are responsible for this functional program process guide are:
This Functional Program Process Guide is dedicated with great admiration & affection to Richard Thomas, who chaired the Environmental Standards Council for decades, and who was both a leader and contributor for the creation of this resource.
The funding for the website development of this tool was provided by:
This tool is not intended to be a guarantee of a successful functional program. This tool is also not a comprehensive list of guideline requirements but provides a high-level overview of certain considerations and their relationship to the environment. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not represent the official views of the Facility Guidelines Institute.
Copyright 2021 The Center for Health Design. All Rights Reserved. This tool may not be used by, transferred to or copied to any other party. The user may not make derivative work, remixes, transform, or build upon or distribute the tool or accompanying materials.