DIRTT Brings Prefabrication to Clinical Healthcare Interiors

| May 28, 2019

by Tim King

For decades, prefabrication technologies have been adding value and efficiencies to different segments of the construction experience. Now the most sensitive and sophisticated healthcare environments are benefiting from pre-fabrication processes.

DIRTT exam room

Hospital bedrooms, ICU areas, exam rooms and other specialty spaces are being built nationwide by some of the largest and most innovative healthcare systems.  Citing schedule benefits, cost controls, ongoing maintenance advantages, higher-tech implantation and an overall sustainability matrix, healthcare planners and design professionals are considering how to maximize pre-fabricated interiors on every healthcare project.

Schedule: Reduction in the overall construction schedule by an average of 20% is done primarily by parallel, simultaneous construction. The interiors are being built while the site work/shell is also being built. Multi-trade prefabricated construction also limits the number and duration of subcontractors on site, that impacts the schedule. Also, with the DIRTT pre-fab process sequence, flooring, MEP’s and ceiling trades have an “open run” for efficient prep and install.

Cost: Although usually a “price neutral” option, the guaranteed cost controls across multiple trades offers tremendous advantages to the owner. Stabilized factory purchase power eliminates the dreaded escalations and contingency tabs in estimates and GMP’s. The “speed to market” advantage has become a major concern and bonus for institutions anxious to start the revenue stream.

DIRTT ICU patient room

Finally, the patented attachment system allows for finished wall segments to be easily removed, providing instant access and repairability to all “in-wall” technologies, such as electric, plumbing, med gas, low-voltage, media and other IT items. This immediate access for repairs and upgrades brings unparalleled speed and ZERO demolition impacts in a healthcare environment.

“The facilities, maintenance and infection control managers are thrilled with this revolutionary approach,” says Mike MacDonald, DIRTT New England. “We are drastically reducing the hospital’s interior demolition for future renovations, and the CFO’s office loves the fact that rooms don’t have to be closed for a one, two, or three days for routine changes and upgrades.”

Ongoing Maintenance: With all of the med gasses, utilities and other electronic media and IT components now easily accessible, simple “tweaks” (OK…renovations) can be done without any drywall impacts or ICRA type barrier management. All types of clinical spaces can be “adjusted” without the traditional construction impacts and revenue loss.   

High-Tech:  BIM technologies are a key driver in the evolution and utilization of prefabrication. Acting in a design-assist/subcontractor role, DIRTT utilizes its own BIM software (ICE) to design, model and visualize while simultaneously developing specs and engineering/manufacturing data. This provides a real-time financial module that is consistently validated from pre-construction through implementation.  

Sustainability: Although sizing specs are 100% customizable, the combination of DIRTT’s own proprietary ICE software with factory measured and cut production, eliminates 85% of traditional waste. Once the system arrives onsite, there is virtually no waste on the clinical jobsite (except packaging).

Just in time delivery, elimination of jobsite measuring/cutting, and drastic reduction in trash and dumpsters are all lean specific tools and goals that create a much leaner jobsite, including availability for LEED points and a much more harmonious jobsite flow.

“We are revolutionizing the traditional process and sequence of interior healthcare construction, making healthcare operations more efficient during construction and for years to come,” says Mike.

Locally, some Massachusetts Institutions such as MGH, BWH, UMass Memorial, BMC and the VA’s have been deploying DIRTT Wall systems in MOB, office and lighter clinical environments. Nationally, systems such as Cleveland Clinic, Kaiser Permanente, Sutter Health and Memorial Sloan Kettering have all been using DIRTT in a more substantial, dedicated approach and in much more sophisticated clinical spaces.  Some now start with DIRTT as the “Basis of Design” to maximize the new sequence and positive impacts.

The advantages are clear for both the initial construction process and “day-2” ongoing operations.  From the C-Suite to facilities/maintenance and through specialty offices, such as infection control and finance. DIRTT multi-trade, prefabricated interiors are changing (disrupting?) the face of healthcare planning, design, construction and operations.

Tim King

Tim King works at Creative Office Pavilion as a project executive for Healthcare Interiors.

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Category: All, contributor, Healthcare

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