The healthcare sector is almost uniquely wide-ranging, covering the full spectrum of population and societal needs. From acute hospitals to age-care and retirement facilities, or healthcare training to research facilities, the healthcare sector’s requirements for physical infrastructure have changed over time and will continue to evolve into the future.
The roll-out of a nationwide network of primary care centres over the last decade is still ongoing. Large acute hospitals have also had to expand and upgrade as centres of excellence are concentrated across fewer locations for better treatment outcomes. Adding to existing large-scale facilities, in often busy sites that are already heavily-developed, presents particular planning challenges. Added to this is the need accommodate visitors and patients transport and parking requirements, where additional land for expansion is rarely available.
MKO have significant experience in the provision of services to development projects in the healthcare sector, including those on hospital campus environments, primary care centres, hospice care, day care centres, nursing home and sheltered housing. We will continue to provide a range of services to our clients in this sector to ensure a speedy and successful outcome through the planning process.
Healthcare – Key Services
We manage the entire planning permission application process, or provide key inputs and planning advice. From advice at the pre-planning stage, through to preparing and managing the planning application or responding to further information requests, we help applicants or their project teams navigate a project through the planning process.
We can either lead the planning-phase design team or are equally happy to play out part as a team member. Our most experienced planners lead the consultations with the Planning Authorities, from the initial concept feasibility discussions right through to agreeing pre-commencement compliance requirements.
We devise and advise on project planning strategy, helping clients determine the best course of action to take with project phasing, timing and application approach. This strategy advice can be provided on a project level to help chart the right course for a project, or at a strategic level to ensure the necessary and correct policies are in place to support a future project.
The new Strategic Housing Development (SHD) legislation requires planning applications for residential developments of 50 units or more and student accommodation developments of 100+ bed spaces to be made directly to An Bord Pleanála.
We use all our experience of engaging with An Bord Pleanála on strategic infrastructure developments, to help applicants and their strategic housing developments through this process. Given the limited opportunities to submit additional information in the SHD process and the need to demonstrate compliance with planning policy at the initial pre-application consultation meetings, planning inputs on SHD projects are even more critical.
They are also written to be practical and aware of the need to implement design and mitigation measures during a project’s construction/operation phase. We project manage client, design team and specialist inputs, and meet our client’s deadlines. Our EIA experience spans every industry sector. Projects and clients benefit from the combined experience of all our company’s staff, who have refined our EIA knowledge and practices over decades of work in this field.
Our bat surveying experience, equipment and expertise allows us to manage surveys from the most sensitive of locations to the largest of sites. We have invested in the latest handheld and remote identification technology and software, and use that to improve bat survey accuracy and result confidence.
Our team, which includes qualified bat handlers, conduct all types of bat surveys required, walked surveys, building inspections, remote surveys or a combination of all the above. Surveys are tailored to the site, the type of proposed development and the time of year. Monitoring devices can be left in place for weeks or months at a time, capturing long-period data across large sites, giving large amounts of data that would otherwise be very costly to capture via surveyors.
The requirements of the EU habitats directive are well known to us, and we prepare Appropriate Assessment Screening Reports (AASR) as Stage 1 assessment/reports or Natura Impact Statements (NIS) as Stage 2 assessment/reports.
Our expert knowledge of the requirements, pitfalls and nuances of habitats directive assessments has been honed by completing many hundred such assessments/reports over the last decade. Our knowledge of the planning system, makes us acutely aware of the planning implications of conducting a Stage 2 assessment for developments that otherwise would not require planning permission. Given our experience, we can advise clients very quickly on whether a Stage 1 “screening” will suffice of whether a full Stage 2 “assessment” is required.