Design professionals are mobilizing to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Their initiatives, many just getting under way, range from educating other practitioners in best practices in health-care design, to offering governments assistance with response and recovery, especially relating to surge beds. Practitioners are also warning officials that haste in creating temporary treatment facilities can create unintended negative consequences.
Looking beyond the immediate crisis, designers are brainstorming the ways codes and standards can be improved to prevent disease transmission in buildings. For example, the leadership of ASHRAE, the professional group for heating, ventilating and air-conditioning (HVAC) engineers, has asked its environmental health committee to develop an effort to provide guidance on how buildings can be used to protect occupants from germs both during the crisis and, in the longer term, how to prepare buildings better for future epidemics.