When I first started designing healthcare facilities back in the 1980s, they were fiendishly complicated buildings. While the basic structures posed few challenges, the nature of the activities they housed and the diverse range of equipment and services needed to support those activities meant we were constantly managing incredibly detailed information. And because hospitals typically contain numerous spaces with identical or near-identical layouts and equipment requirements, there was a lot of repetition of this information.
I quickly realised that computers would help ensure greater consistency of output and reduce the time we spent on drawing repetitive room designs. For example, I created libraries of furniture, fixtures and equipment (FF&E) for a major hospital project. However, the drawing of room elevations still required an army of students. And no matter how good they were, there was no automatic validation of drawings other than by eye.
The arrival of personal computers, spreadsheets, databases, and the compound increase in computer power and capacity changed the game. Now textual elements could be linked to graphics – and designs could be automatically checked against project requirements.
Today CodeBook helps designers and fellow professionals create and manage a model for a building containing all its information, from the originating brief to the day-to-day operational management of the completed, occupied structure.
I think CodeBook’s foundation as an application for complex healthcare buildings has made it the success it is (HOK London won an award in 2007 for its use on the Royal London Hospital for example). CodeBook can be used to manage the owner/operator requirements of just about any large building requiring sophisticated management of FF&E, particularly where those requirements are often repeated tens, 100s or even 1000s of times. No wonder, therefore, that we are seeing designers use the application for airports, hotels, railway stations and prisons – among other things.