The Reinier de Graaf Hospital in Delft (the Netherlands) had limited space available for expanding their operating rooms on their property. However, a potential top-up expansion was already considered in the adjacent parking garage’s design in 2012. This led to the decision to build the new ORs on top of the existing parking garage.

However, how do you design for a new OR-unit on top of a parking garage, without being affected by the vibrations caused by the vehicles from below? The Reinier de Graaf Hospital gave the structural engineers from Royal HaskoningDHV a complex puzzle to solve. Vehicles in the parking garage below provide a constant source of vibration, which for obvious reasons cannot be noticed in the operating rooms. With our expertise we developed a structural design that meets the strict vibration requirements.

We designed a steel structure on top of spring bearings, this provides the most efficient and economical solution. The spring bearings are located at the transition between the parking garage and the ORs, which filters out the vibrations caused by vehicles. Through on-site measurements the vibration levels were determined for the design and monitored during construction. Further measurements will be performed to validate the design. It results in the new OR-unit remaining unmoved at its position, independently from the movements of the parking garage below.

The diversity of requirements and boundary conditions makes this a unique design. The result is an OR-unit in which you are unaware you are performing surgery above a parking garage. An impressive piece of engineering that provides the solution to this complex question.

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Nils Roovers

Consulting Engineer Structural Design / Associate Director

NL, Amsterdam

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