Our transformation will be prefab-ulous
If you hear the word “prefab” and immediately picture a low end, cookie cutter house on the back of a trailer slowing traffic on I 71, you need to change your thinking.
Prefabrication – the construction of buildings or structural components in an off-site factory – offers many benefits. And Walter Jones, Senior Vice President, Campus Transformation, says he wants to take advantage of them during our campus transformation.
The new hospital is going to have 270 virtually identical patient rooms. This gives us the opportunity to construct aspects of the room – the headwall, the bathroom or even the room itself – off site in a controlled environment. They would then be delivered to the construction site and assembled right in place.
Here’s why we’d do it:
Better consistency: Prefabrication eliminates imperfections and variations.
Better quality: Prefab does not mean second class. We would use the same high-quality studs, drywall and finish materials, but construction would happen in a carefully controlled environment.
A shorter construction schedule: Since rooms will be identical and standardized, we would be building one room 270 times, and we could do that while other construction is going on.
Also, by doing much of the work on the ground, in a climate-controlled setting, rough weather wouldn’t halt construction.
Better safety: We are also looking at prefabricating the new hospital’s “racks” – the sections of piping, plumbing, ductwork and conduit that travel above the building corridors.
They would be constructed in a factory at waist-level and then delivered to our site, where they could be inspected and hoisted into place. Workers would not have to risk injury by building them on site.
Lower costs: Traditional on-site “stick building” almost always means modifications and adjustments, moving a pipe here or a duct there. That’s expensive. With carefully planned and standardized prefabbed modules, virtually nothing needs to be changed in the field.
We do have some experience with pre-fab: During the expansion of the Critical Care Pavilion, we fabricated the headwalls for the 85 patient rooms off site. It worked well, says Walter.
“This is a better way to build,” he says.
For the new hospital, Walter says the design team is figuring out exactly what we should build in the field and what should be prefabbed. Stay tuned.Click here to stay up-to-date with our transformation.