Announcing the Development of a Building Frame System That Improves the Comfort and Convenience of Large-Scale Medical Facilities

—The convenience of changing piping equipment, etc., is making it easy to renovate buildings and is helping to extend the life of facilities—

February 19, 2014Takenaka Corporation

Takenaka Corporation (President: Masahiro Miyashita) has developed a convenient building frame system for general hospitals and other large-scale medical facilities that gives indoor areas a sense of spaciousness and enables the diameter and routing of pipes to be changed flexibly and easily. Currently, this system is being applied to two projects, one of which is a new eight-story, base-isolated reinforced concrete building for the Kariya Toyota General Hospital in Kariya City, Aichi Prefecture, which was completed in September 2014.
This system is composed of “flat section beams” and “high-strength RC slim columns” that are mainly used in base-isolated buildings. By lowering the height of beams and making it so that pipes do not run through beams, the flat section beam method enables changes to be made easily. Furthermore, the high-strength RC slim columns have a reduced section area by using superhigh-strength concrete and high-strength steel reinforcements, which provides indoor areas with a sense of spaciousness.

Characteristics of this system

1. Flat section beams

Flat section beams provide flexibility for changing the routing of piping equipment, and help to extend the life of buildings

The flat section beams that comprise this frame system facilitate the design of large and complex piping equipment because pipes do not go through the beams but instead hang under the beams, reducing structural restrictions. Another feature of this system is that room layouts and pipe routes can be changed flexibly.
In ordinary reinforced concrete beams, holes are drilled to allow pipes to be inserted, but this makes it difficult to change piping after construction is completed. This in turn makes it difficult to update medical equipment, which is done every 20 years or so, and there are quite a few cases where the only option is to build a new facility. This has created a bottleneck for building owners who must maintain medical functions. However, the flat section beams resolve this problem and help to extend the life of their buildings.
In addition, the flat section beams are one-half to one-third the height of conventional beams, so ceiling height can be maintained while reducing floor height.

2. High-strength RC slim columns

With one-fifth to one-seventh the sectional area of conventional columns, these slim columns convey a sense of spaciousness

The use of high-strength concrete (which in the case of the Kariya Toyota General Hospital is design strength of 150N/mm2, roughly five times that of normal concrete) and high-strength steel reinforcements (SD685 at Kariya, which has around twice the strength of normal steel reinforcements) in the columns reduces column area to one-fifth to one-seventh that of regular columns (360mm square), in the case of the Kariya hospital), providing a sense of spaciousness.
In order to support loads, columns must be thick when regular concrete is used. Because the columns are thick, it reduces the area of usable space, which can restrict the layout of such things as beds and medical equipment and convey a sense of being closed-in.

Conceptual image of a building interior

The needs of large-scale medical facilities

In 2011, numerous medical facilities were damaged by the Great East Japan Earthquake. However, damage to medical equipment had a greater impact than damage to building frames on the treatment of victims because equipment functionality was reduced or even stopped. Learning from this event, many large medical facilities, which form the core of local medical treatment, are increasingly using base-isolated structures so that they can continue to function during a major earthquake. Our system is designed to increase the comfort and convenience of such buildings.