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FGI Seeks Public Comment on 2020 Update to Guidelines for Design and Construction

By A.J. Plunkett  
   August 13, 2020

FGI is accepting public comment on the 2020 guidelines through September 30.

Editor's note: This article was originally published in the newsletter Briefings on Accreditation & Quality. Briefings on Accreditation & Quality is published through the HCPro Accreditation & Quality Compliance Center.

The Facilities Guidelines Institute (FGI) is asking for public comment through September on the 2020 update to the FGI Guidelines for Design and Construction, which “provide minimum standards for design and construction of hospitals, outpatient facilities, and residential health, care, and support facilities,” according to an FGI announcement.

Used by many state and local authorities having jurisdiction to “regulate design and construction of these facilities,” The Joint Commission (TJC) also cites the guidelines under Environment of Care standard EC.02.06.05.

The standard requires hospitals to manage risks to the environment of care during demolition, renovation and new construction and cites the guidelines as one of the acceptable references for design criteria during that process.

Among the overall proposed changes, according to FGI, are:

  • Use of ANSI/ASHRAE/IES Standard 90.1, STANDARD 90.1-2019, Energy Standard for Buildings except Low-rise Residential Buildings, in the absence of a state- or locally adopted energy code
  • Requirements and considerations for palliative care design in the Hospital and Residential documents
  • Requirements and considerations for use of color and light that accentuate contrast for low-vision populations in the Hospital and Residential documents
  • Recommendations for noise risk assessments in the Hospital and Outpatient documents
  • Provision of new emergency department (ED) clinical spaces in the Hospital and Outpatient documents
  • Requirements for facilities for an intensive outpatient and partial hospitalization program for behavioral and mental health patients in the Hospital and Outpatient documents
  • Clarifications on clean and sterile supply storage in operating suites in the Hospital and Outpatient documents

In addition, specifically under the Hospital Guidelines, the proposed changes include:

  • Updated appendices for the behavioral and mental health risk portion of the safety risk assessment
  • Minimum requirements and recommended best practices for burn units and hospice units
  • Provision of an anteroom for an airborne infection isolation room predicated on an infection control risk assessment (ICRA); design considerations for anterooms added to the appendix
  • New guidance on ED design to improve flexibility, accessibility, and safety
  • New information to encourage small and specialty hospitals, where appropriate, to use the critical access hospital chapter; new guidance to increase flexibility of room use in critical access hospitals

The guidelines got their start more than 70 years ago as a federal-private venture to set building standards for the nation’s hospitals being built across the continent under the post-World War II Hill-Burton program. Publishing of the guidelines is now administered under the American Society for Healthcare Engineering (ASHE).

FGI is accepting public comment on the 2020 guidelines through September 30. For more information on the changes and how to submit comments, go to

A.J. Plunkett is editor of Healthcare Safety Leader, a Simplify Compliance publication.

A.J. Plunkett is editor of Inside Accreditation & Quality, a Simplify Compliance publication.

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