CIC launches Design Quality Indicator for Health 2

The Construction Industry Council has launched an updated version of its design quality evaluation tool, the Design Quality Indicator for Health 2 (DQIfH2).

It says it ‘will contribute to improved design, long-term functionality, and sustainability, of future hospital new-build and major adaption and refurbishment projects’. 

This latest version enables the DQIfH2 to be used by healthcare organisations and their key stakeholders to engage earlier in the consultation and design process of all types of healthcare buildings. The tool has been updated to perform better with the latest NHS England & Improvement requirements aligned to the current business case process, while being adaptable for use on accelerated project programmes. DQIfH2 is now designed to become the vehicle for not only design appraisal, but also staged review of other NHS estates assurances processes covering impact on the procurement process at an early stage, e.g. carbon reduction and sustainability, infection prevention and control, fire safety, planning, and BIM etc.

The CIC’s original Design Quality Indicator, launched in 2002, is a process for evaluating and improving the design and construction of any type of new building and the refurbishment of existing ones, with various sector specialisms, such as health, education, and civic buildings. It focused on involving a wider group of stakeholders in the design process than was then the case, involving both the design and construction teams, and those who used, financed, and were affected by, the building. The 2002 DQI provided staged review by stakeholders of a projects design development from concept to completion consistent with RIBA and other industry standards, and in 2008 was adopted by the Department of Health as the Achieving Excellence Design Evaluation Toolkit (AEDET).

In 2010 the DH commissioned the first DQI for Health as the default design quality evaluation tool for all healthcare projects. It built on the solid foundations of the original DQI whilst also incorporating the best of the then obsolete AEDET.

DQIfH2 has been designed to follow the NHS’s business case process through Strategic Outline Case (SOC), Outline Business Case (OBC), Full Business Case (FBC), and Construction and Post Occupancy Evaluation (POE). The process has been used in more than 70 health projects since its inauguration in 2014, and more than 130 assessments have been facilitated by the CIC’s own team of accredited independent facilitators. The CIC says DQIfH2 will become an important assurance tool for not only NHS Trusts, but equally all providers of healthcare accommodation throughout the whole life of a project, and not just the delivery phase. It will support the objectives set for major capital investment in the NHS healthcare estate, e.g. Health Infrastructure Plan 1 and 2 Schemes, as well as linking with other government requirements on improved design quality to reduce risk and cost.

Graham Watts, chief executive of CIC, said: ‘‘Improving quality in the built environment is at the core of CIC’s mission, and the new DQI for Health 2 aligns excellently with the work that CIC is doing elsewhere, in terms of improving building design, safety, quality, and procurement.  This is not just for projects related to healthcare, but also other construction sectors that can have a direct influence on health and wellbeing in the UK, such as housing and education. We are keen to continue our close working with NHS England & Improvement both during the launch of the DQIfH2, and in the longer term, to ensure continuing improvement over the coming years.’’

Simon Corben, director and head of Profession, NHS Estates and Facilities, said: “The quality of the NHS estate is a key factor in delivering both high quality clinical care and a positive environment for patients, visitors, and staff. Use of the new DQI for Health through the NHS’s business case process will support delivery of this.”