Modular construction builds flexibility into healthcare projects

By Healthcare Facilities Today
January 22, 2014
Benjamin Benschneider/Otto

When it comes to building projects, healthcare providers across the board are looking to reduce costs and shorten construction schedules while still seeking high-quality design and building materials, according to an article on the Healthcare Design magazine website. 

Modular building systems, seldom used in healthcare a decade ago, are helping make that goal a reality. Hospital owners are using prefabrication for headwalls, bathrooms, or even an entire hospital. 

Healthcare is currently the leading market sector utilizing modular construction at 49 percent, according to recent industry statistics. Furthermore, as healthcare organizations move toward more standardized environments and systematic approaches to care delivery, modular is proving to be a great fit, according to the article.

The Miami Valley Hospital Heart and Orthopedic Center’s bed tower, which opened in 2010, was the first U.S. hospital to extensively apply modular prefabrication. The Dayton, Ohio, hospital’s patient rooms, exam rooms, single-toilet rooms, and patient-unit overhead utilities were all built at assembly warehouses just miles from the site and then erected on-site. 

Another example is the four-story, 188,000-square-foot Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas, where instead of coordinating and installing on-site the dozens of electrical outlets and medical gas and vacuum lines required for each of its headwalls, the hospital opted to have all of the headwalls prefabricated off-site, the article said.

“The efficiency gained is astounding compared to building headwalls in place in the building, where each trade is getting in each other’s way,” Winjie Tang Miao, president, Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Alliance, said in the article.

Texas Health also used modular components for the patient room bathrooms and portions of the HVAC and plumbing systems. 

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