In this series, healthcare design Leading healthcare design professionals, companies, and owners are asked to tell us what caught their attention and share some thoughts on the topic.
Richard Stiemel, Senior Vice President and Principal in Charge of Healthcare at Lendlease (New York), shares his thoughts on prefabrication and new technologies and approaches to increase faster market access.
- prefabrication acceleration
The importance of prefabrication and modular construction in the building process was rapidly expanding before the pandemic. However, its non-linear format, which allows it to start before project teams can access a space or start construction, has proven to be an invaluable solution for many projects during the pandemic as it saves time, enhances safety and quality, reduces waste, and limits staff. in the field, which keeps exposure levels to a minimum. Speed to market and reduced exposure are becoming more important during the pandemic and I expect it to continue, strengthening prefabrication’s position in the healthcare design sector.
- Mastering Technology
Having technologically sound architects, engineers and construction managers makes the planning, design and construction process more efficient and eliminates costly errors in the field. This is evident in some of the current technology tools that designers use. For example, using laser scanning to capture the mechanical, electrical and plumbing conditions within a wall means less physical penetration/probe into the walls and ceilings of operating hospitals. Laser scanning also limits the amount of time and personal contact needed to scan in and around inhabited buildings, which is helpful during a pandemic. In addition, the use of virtual reality models reduces the need for costly physical models. Finally, the evolution of collision detection through virtual design and building/building information modeling, while not new, is increasingly ensuring that everything comes together without incidents in the field.
- work together
Technology alone cannot enhance healthcare design and construction. You need the people and the process that directs technology to work together. This happens most effectively when the client, architect, engineers, construction manager and crafts collaborate as early in the planning and design process as possible. Replacing the traditional design, bid and build handover process with integrated project delivery allows key project elements such as buildability, budget, schedule, modeling, shop drawings and logistics to be set early and stay on target throughout each subsequent phase of the project. This can help eliminate surprises, costly errors, and delays in the field.
- The lasting impact of COVID-19
While no one wants to think about the next pandemic, from a healthcare design perspective, we expect that some of the innovative changes in programming space planning that are being made today will remain for the long term. For example, separate entrances for patients, adults and pediatrics will continue to be used to help separate and isolate patients once they enter the front door to mitigate any potential spread of infection. By moving to the hospital, all department waiting areas will become passively pressurized to reduce the chance of infection spread and protect health care providers and others in the waiting areas. Additionally, patient rooms will be expanded to accommodate the increased beds. We’re also seeing more versatility in pressure control for entire bed units and floors, again providing a higher level of patient containment and hospital protection.
- Increase the speed of access to the market
The traditional project planning, delivery and implementation methods are highly structured. While these approaches are appropriate for larger, more traditional projects, they are not smart enough to create faster timelines for completion like those required by the pandemic. To address this, many projects took a unified team approach, with more frequent meetings with a priority playlist, which resulted in immediate resolution of hurdles and resulted in faster project completion. We continue to support building more flexibility throughout the entire construction process, such as incorporating more off-the-shelf components, including front walls, foot walls, operating room ceilings, and medical gas manifolds. Using pre-assembled units rather than accommodating materials to be built on site leads to an accelerated schedule and tighter completion deadlines.
Want to share your top 5? Contact Managing Editor Tracey Walker at [email protected] For submission instructions.