Category Archives: Hospital Design

Shipping Container Kennels

Containers for Kennels

Containers for Kennels

The other day, I saw a few pictures on Pinterest of shipping container kennels. They made me raise an eye brow.

At first glance, one might think that these containers seem like the perfect answer for all your shelter’s troubles.  No more leaky roof, or over-crowding, or broken kennel enclosures, poor drainage, or whatever plagues your kennel.  Just drop in another container and everything is well again, and they’re cheap too!  Now, that really sounds great…

but, not so fast!

A Google search on the words ‘container architecture quickly reveals that using containers in construction is nothing new.  Homes and commercial buildings are made of containers and containers are stacking up on every port around the country.  They were shipped into our country with products and goods, but they cost too much to return them empty.  So the cost of containers are fairly cheap.

With a little planning, containers make a very strong, safe and watertight building.  But, these ‘buildings’ must meet all the building code requirements that any commercial building would need to meet.  Hence, the planning!

The inside needs to have water, both supply and drainage.  It must have heating, cooling, ventilation,  electric, lighting, insulation, and must meet all the requirements for the ADA, Americans with Disabilities Act, too.

Outside, these ‘permanent’ buildings must meet the requirements for gravity and lateral forces; both a proper foundation to rest on, and the building must be tied to the foundation to resist lateral wind loads.  The doors and pathways around the buildings must also be accessible for wheelchair access and they must meet zoning and setback requirements too.

So, the thought of just dropping a few containers in place, cutting in a few dog doors, and moving in the animals, could be not be farther from the truth.

However, with a little planning,

shipping container kennels may come in handy for short-term housing of animals after a natural disaster, or for emergency quarantine.  Also, it is always a problem finding housing for animals when renovating an existing shelter. This is especially so, when taking an existing shelter building down completely, to build a new one in it’s place.  Perhaps temporally housing of animals in containers may be an answer, but, it’s all a matter of proper planning.

For all your kennel or animal hospital design needs, give me a call–that’s what I do, worldwide, and  I’m here to help.

Quarantine, Whether Ebola or Parvovirus, Think INSIDE The Box!


Ocean Shipping Containers assembled creating a mobile hospital!

sThis latest outbreak of Ebola has me concerned. Now, I am certainly no doctor or scientist. I’m an architectural designer. I design animal shelters, boarding kennels, military and police kennels and veterinary hospitals too. Most of these buildings have quarantine rooms in their designs, and that’s what sparks my concern.

I do have a little bit of medical background. I was a US Navy hospital corpsman, an ER staff corpsman, a battle dressing station triage officer, and an ACLS paramedic. I went through the Navy’s training for handling of and the treatment of patients infected with chemical and biological warfare weapons. Back then, it was my job to run towards the fire, the sick and the injured, or the flooding on a ship to fix problems. Today, I design solutions.

Last week on C-Span, I listened to the House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations as they try to find answers. Tim Murphy, Chairman, Pennsylvania, outlined that mistakes have been made thus far here in the USA.  He also said that 1000 people are entering this country each week from “Ebola hot zones.” I certainly understand that we must protect our homeland, and perhaps travel restrictions are warranted, but there is more that needs to be done, and done right now!  It is estimated that more than 4500 people have died as of this writing.

Chairman Murphy noted that the number of Ebola outbreaks in Africa are doubling every three weeks. It seems to me that more effort needs to be directed at stopping ebola at its source. The African hospital workers must have, not only the proper medications and equipment, but they must also have the proper facilities to contain this deadly virus.

Containment is likely the only way to prevent the spread. Last week, I saw a video where a hospital worker was exiting an isolation ward, walking through clear plastic doors, then across the dirt ground where he stepped through a pan of liquid, presumably a disinfectant for his shoes.  This is simply not enough.

How can these hospital conditions be changed, and right now, to expedite the eradication of ebola?

Building new hospitals is simply out of the question. It would take too long and too many would die waiting for a bed. This has been going through my head day and night, and then it came to me, maybe the answer is…

Ocean Shipping Containers!


Advantages of building a single-level hospital from available shipping containers.

  • Containers make for fast manufacturing–the frame is already to go
  • Containers are strong
  • Containers are a cheap buildings
  • Containers are plentiful, there are thousands of used containers stacked at every seaport
  • Containers may be renovated fairly easily to allow for:
    • Windows
    • Skylights
    • Air-tight man-doors
    • Roll-up storage doors
    • HVAC mechanical systems
  • Containers are easy to ship
  • Containers make for easy-setup once delivered on-site
  • Containers may be insulated to suit most any climate, cold or hot
  • Containers are watertight
  • Containers are air-tight
  • Containers have steel interior walls that could be easily cleaned and sanitized.
  • The only drawback, they have a wooden floor, but there are several options.

More than 21,000 shipping containers enter this country on a daily basis. These extremely strong, steel, air-tight boxes can be quickly modified to make most any kind of room needed. Fitted with proper lighting, plumbing and HVAC, (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning), they can be renovated quickly to make quarantine wards, offices, treatment rooms, labs, pharmacy, X-ray rooms, break rooms, supply and storerooms or, of course, kennels. They could even be used for housing for emergency personnel or most any other need. When shipped, each could be packed with all the medical supplies, beds/bedding, HVAC equipment, water heaters, generators, and supplies needed for the specific emergency at hand.

The interior walls and ceilings are metal and may be painted for easy cleaning. The floors are wood, and may be finished a welded sheet goods material or an epoxy finished concrete.  Just as in any hospital, the entire inside, then, can be sanitized and the waste water vacuumed from the floor.  If no sewage is available or if it is inappropriate for the specific emergency, the water would be collected into storage tanks awaiting treatment.

Once arrived on site, the units would be anchored and the exterior walls and roof would receive spray polyurethane foam insulation, as thick as needed to maintain proper indoor temperatures. Then the exterior would be finished with a spray elastomeric or other roofing material.  With proper planning, a little engineering, and some site development while in transit, these units could be occupied within days upon delivery.

So, whether parvovirus in animals or ebola in Africa, think INSIDE the box for emergency quarantine!  When you have a need for an overflow kennel, or disaster relief housing, consider shipping containers as an affordable emergency shelter/quarantine kennel, or a full fledged hospital to combat an ebola crisis in West Africa.

Please share this article. Just maybe, it will spark an the right idea, in the right minds.

God’s blessing to those sick and to their health workers.

Fast, Low Income Housing Using Containers

Multi-Level container Hospitals 

Animal Hospital Design

Get The Design Right!

When space planning a veterinarian hospital, consider using a designer with a medical background. It goes a long way in getting the plan right! For a new home, most any architect can deliver a quality product, because they understand the flow of the home. For example, he might recommend keeping the garage near the kitchen, to minimize handling groceries.

During the design process, this medical background also allows for seamless communication between the designer and the doctors and staff.

Having worked in the medical field, gives me that distinct advantage. As a Navy Hospital Corpsman, I started with a six month rotation in Labor and Delivery, followed by a year in the Emergency Room. I completed certificates in suturing, ET intubation, IV therapy and ACLS, (Advanced Cardiac Life Support), as well as a year of paramedic school.  

_DSC3975My last duty station was two years in the medical department aboard the USS Peleliu, a warship with a full 367 bed hospital including, 4 OR’s, Lab, ICU, Physical Therapy, X-Ray, Sick Bay and 4 triage areas. This experience affords me the understanding as to how the flow in most any medical facility should work, and it has proven invaluable in designing animal hospitals, spay and neuter clinics, animal physical therapy and aquatic therapy centers, kennels and more, all across the USA and beyond.

So, whether your facility is a single doctor practice, a kennel, a spay and neuter clinic, or a 30,000 s.f., 24 hour, emergency veterinary hospital, with a staff of doctors, I do it all. The design could be for an entirely new facility, or a simple renovation or addition.

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When redesigning an existing hospital, I make house calls!  When needed, I often travel to a site to see, first-hand, what is needed. This allows me to work with clients one-on-one to get the design just the way they want it to be. Regardless of your needs, help is just a phone call away.  I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Also, please connect with me on LinkedIn and follow my blog.