An American Institute of Architects task force has released a new tool to help public officials—not designers—quickly identify buildings suitable to be adapted for patient care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The COVID-19 Alternative Care Sites Assessment Tool provides a checklist highlighting important areas to consider when evaluating buildings—convention centers, sports arenas, community centers, hotels, dormitories and other nontraditional spaces—to be used for temporary health care operations during a pandemic.

[For ENR’s latest coverage of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, click here]

The tool is intended to aid individuals who are not health-care design experts with a rapid evaluation of buildings compatible for supporting patient care operations, providing for the needs and safety of health care staff and patients and mitigating the spread of disease.

Best Practices

The task force developed the tool using established health-care-design best practices and standards in combination with federal documents issued during the COVID-19 crisis. Additionally, professional input was provided from trained and experienced health care architects, engineers, life-safety consultants, front-line health workers and hospital facility operations. A comprehensive briefing of the task force’s initiatives is available on AIA’s website.

On April 3, the task force launched an online resource to facilitate the sharing of built environment solutions when responding to COVID-19 surge capacity. Architects, designers, engineers and facility managers are asked to provide project information and images of COVID-19 alternative-care sites to an online database.

The facility and its location will appear on an online global map produced and quality controlled by the University of Kansas’ Institute of Health + Wellness Design. The task force developed the tool to catalog current public health and health care facility responses and to create a research database for future pandemics.

Visit AIA’s website for more COVID-19 resources for members