The Importance of Utility Mapping for Healthcare Facilities

Three steps you need to take to have up-to-date & accurate utility maps as part of your healthcare facilities utility management plan.

The Importance of Utility Mapping for Healthcare Facilities

Three steps you need to take to have up-to-date & accurate utility maps as part of your healthcare facilities utility management plan.

In healthcare facilities, maintaining underground utilities isn’t just about a utility management plan, it’s about protecting patients and those who care for them.

What is Healthcare Utility Management?

Healthcare Utility Management is defined as the maintenance and management of a healthcare facilities essential or critical utilities including systems for electrical distribution; emergency power; vertical transport; HVAC; plumbing and steam boilers; medical gas; medical/surgical vacuum; and network or communication systems as discussed by the University of Toledo’s Health Science Campus’ Utility Management Plan.

The Utility Management Plan utilized by healthcare facilities helps provide how the organization will manage risks associated with its utility system and generally applies to all facilities that are located on a healthcare facilities campus.

As part of a healthcare facilities utility management plan, inspection, testing, and regular maintenance processes should be conducted per the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards using a preventative or computerized maintenance management program. However, without accurate and up to date as built maps of the underground utility infrastructure for a hospital and its affiliated facilities, disaster is waiting to happen.

The Necessity of Utilities to Hospitals

Underground utilities supply healthcare facilities with the vital resources it needs to help keep patients cared for. A variety of high-risk utility systems such as electricity being used to support life support systems; blood, bone, and tissue storage systems; medical air compressors; and medical and surgical vacuum systems, to other utility system components such as water lines transferring drinking water, cooling equipment, and disinfecting materials, the need to protect these assets is vital. If one is damaged, it could risk patients’ lives; or worse, and no one wants that.

While emergency backup power sources in the form of generators are necessary, managed, and in use for different utility types within a hospitals preventative maintenance system in case a utility line is struck or an outage occurs while excavating, digging, or drilling, none of these systems can be used to predict the long-term impact a utility outage may have on a healthcare facility. To prevent these incidents from occurring, action must be taken.

Accurate underground utility mapping for healthcare facilities and other mission critical infrastructure assists in these types of scenarios as it can provide the industries best utility mapping software to store accurate underground utility data. This can help provide the safest option for teams to mitigate risk and ensure safety when the data is needed.

The Current As Built Crisis For Healthcare Facilities

Utility maps in healthcare facilities like many other facilities like them, are suffering from a lack of accurate subsurface information stored in many different places. When the design and construction team is looking to initiate the next stage of a projects life cycle, they reference 3-4 different locations such as the online GIS platform in the company’s intranet, system specific manuals, drawings, and associated maintenance shops. These plans are always somewhat or completely outdated and inaccurate which leaves the team to try and piece together the underground puzzle of utility lines that lay beneath their feet. This causes unwanted headache and slows down project progress by up to 4-6 weeks, minimum.

If lines are eventually accurately located however, data is typically siloed and often unshared between and with contractors on site, causing further downtime, reworks, and budget overruns with damages and safety hazards being the result due to utility strikes.

When strikes occur, high risk utility systems can go down. When an electric main is damaged such as near Cedars Sinai Hospital in 2017, loss of electricity can cause life sustaining machines such as ventilation systems and other systems utilizing electricity for surgeries to temporally go down before backup generators kick in. In some situations, this can be life threatening. In most; a sense of fear, panic, and distrust forms within patients being cared for.

Damage Prevention; Protecting Your Reputation

To prevent scenarios like this, it’s important to update all utility maps of a healthcare and mission critical facility and store the data within the most accurate, easily accessible, and shareable utility mapping software available to you. By doing this, the healthcare facilities reputation can remain intact with patients and the location of the facilities underground infrastructure can be pinpointed immediately prior to any excavator, drill, or shovel breaking ground on site.

This choice will also help consolidate the three to four different areas that keep underground utility information and as built data, into one easy to use platform that is filled with 99.8+% accurate data backed by the nation’s only national utility mapping service contractor.

Here’s how it works

Step One

Update facility as builts by contacting GPRS to mark out all high and low-risk underground utility lines on the jobsite such as gas, water, electric, communication, sewer, irrigation, and power.

Step Two

Have a GPRS Project Manager upload that subsurface utility information into the cloud-based utility mapping platform, SiteMap®.

Step Three

Log into you SiteMap® Personal Account, and with the click of a button view your healthcare facilities accurate and securely sharable as built data before you design or dig.

How To Protect Your Hospital’s Most Neglected Infrastructure

This hassle and hazard can all be prevented if it were just for a utility mapping platform like SiteMap® being utilized to enhance collaboration between subs to easily access accurate and up to date as built data of the job site, all geolocated, referenced, aggregated and securely stored and shareable within the platform.

Figure 3: SiteMap® eliminates bottlenecks and data siloes through sub-contractor and owner collaboration and data sharing capabilities.

SiteMap® is an industry leading utility mapping software that enables collaboration, on job sites so that you can design, collaborate, communicate, dig, and ultimately build better.

To learn more about how a SiteMap® subscription can enhance the communication and safety on your jobsite, schedule a live demo with an one of our SiteMap® experts, today.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How does SiteMap® enhance collaboration on my job site?

Sitemap® enhances collaboration on jobsites in a variety of ways, including ability to easily share infrastructure data with key stake holders so they know the exact location of the utility lines in their scope of work, as displayed in figure 3. This helps eliminate communication bottlenecks that typically occur on jobsite due to siloed data.

How is SiteMap® different from GIS and other Utility Mapping Platforms?

Great question! The difference is in the data. We commonly hear GIS platforms and other utility mapping software’s data can display lines being over 30 feet off from where their actually located. Yes, 30 feet!! And who has time to look at useless data when you have to break ground tomorrow to construct your new emergency room addition? Not you. That’s why our data within SiteMap® is all backed by the 99.8+% accuracy rating on over 500,000 projects completed nationwide by our SIM Certified Project Managers, so you can be confident when you design or dig that you’ll mitigate the risk and hassle of reworks and the dangers of utility strikes to your healthcare facility.