In this series, Healthcare design Ask leading healthcare design professionals, companies, and owners to tell us what caught their attention and share some thoughts on the topic.
Richard Steimel, Senior Vice President and Head of Healthcare of Lendlease (New York), shared his views on new technologies and methods for prefabrication and speeding up time to market.
- Accelerated prefabrication
Before the pandemic, the importance of prefabrication and modular construction to the construction process has rapidly expanded. However, its non-linear format allows it to start before the project team enters the space or begins construction, and has proven to be a valuable solution for many projects during the pandemic because it saves time, improves safety and quality, reduces waste, and Limit the number of workers on site to keep exposure levels to a minimum. During the pandemic, accelerating time to market and reducing exposure become more important, and I expect this to continue, further consolidating prefabrication’s position in the field of healthcare design.
- Technical proficiency
Having well-skilled architects, engineers, and construction managers can improve the efficiency of the planning, design, and construction process, and eliminate costly errors on site. This is evident in some of the current technical tools that designers are using. For example, using laser scanning to capture the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing conditions of the walls means less invasive/physical detection of the walls and ceilings of the operating hospital. Laser scanning also limits the time and personal contact required to conduct surveys in and around inhabited buildings, which can be helpful during a pandemic. In addition, the use of virtual reality models reduces the need for expensive physical models. Finally, although not new, the development of conflict detection through virtual design and construction/building information modeling is increasingly ensuring that everything is on site without accidents.
Technology alone cannot improve the healthcare design and construction process. You need to guide the people and processes that technology works together. This situation is most effective when clients, architects, engineers, construction managers, and the industry collaborate as early as possible in the planning and design process. Replace the traditional design-bid-build delivery process with integrated project delivery. Key project elements such as constructability, budget, schedule, modeling, construction drawings and logistics can be set as early as possible, and goals can be maintained in each subsequent project phase . This helps eliminate accidents, costly errors and delays on site.
- The lasting impact of COVID-19
Although no one wants to think about the next pandemic, from the perspective of healthcare design, we expect that some of the innovative programming space layout changes made today will exist for a long time. For example, the use of separate entrances for patients, adults, and pediatrics will continue to help them isolate and isolate them immediately as they walk through the front door to mitigate any potential spread of infection. Further into the hospital, the waiting areas of certain departments will be under negative pressure to reduce the chance of spreading infections and protect healthcare providers and others in the waiting areas. In addition, the ward will be expanded to accommodate emergency beds. We also see more versatility in controlling the pressurization of the bed unit and the entire floor, which again provides a higher level of containment and protection for the hospital for patients.
- Speed up time to market
Traditional project planning, delivery and execution methods are very structured. Although suitable for larger, more traditional projects, these methods are not flexible enough to establish a faster completion schedule as necessary for the pandemic. In order to solve this problem, many projects adopt a unified team approach, hold meetings more frequently and list priorities, so as to solve obstacles more directly and speed up project completion. We continue to support the establishment of greater flexibility throughout the construction process, such as combining more prefabricated components for decoration, including head walls, lower walls, operating room ceilings and medical gas manifolds. Using pre-assembled units instead of housing materials that must be built on-site can speed up progress and a more aggressive completion date.
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