Decision-Making Methods in the Structural Design of Healthcare Facilities

Open Access
Severyn, Abby
Area of Honors:
Architectural Engineering
Bachelor of Architectural Engineering
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Ryan Levi Solnosky, Thesis Supervisor
  • Linda Morley Hanagan, Honors Advisor
  • Decision-Making Methods
  • Structural Design
  • Healthcare Facilities
  • AHP
  • CBA
  • PM
  • Architectural Engineering
  • Analytic Hierarchy Process
  • Choosing By Advantages
  • Pugh Matrix
The design and construction of healthcare facilities is becoming increasingly complex and demanding. Structural system designers for healthcare facilities must consider factors related to patient wellbeing, building system integration, and owner cost and schedule restrictions, amongst others. It is common for designers to use structural systems that are most familiar instead of exploring alternatives with potential to better meet these goals. This can lead to designs being overlooked without considering the benefits they could add to a project. The decision-making process for structural system selection plays a critical role in the outcome of a project. Multi-criteria decision-making (MCDM) methods have been used throughout the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) industry to select a preferred alternative when several options are considered. This study explores the use of three MCDM methods and their applicability to structural system selection for healthcare facilities. A survey of professionals within the AEC industry revealed which parameters are most important when selecting structural systems. With this information, the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP), Choosing by Advantages (CBA), and the Pugh Matrix (PM) were applied to a healthcare project case study. The three methods were used to select the most beneficial gravity system for use in a structural redesign of the Mercy Health Muskegon medical center, an existing healthcare facility. The results of the survey show that the use of MCDM methods can lead to the consistent selection of an alternative system that best aligns with project goals and requirements. Professionals in the AEC industry showed a willingness to use straightforward and beneficial MCDM methods. Based on the results of the case study, PM seems to best fit these criteria, as it was used to most simply and reliably select a favorable healthcare facility structural system.