Increased need for data drives healthcare construction trends
- Hospitals and other medical facilities need to be designed and built to meet increased demand for technology, according to panelists at The Commercial Observer’s Annual Health Construction Forum, Commercial Observer reported.
- Not only are medical devices and machines such as MRIs being used more heavily in treatment, but healthcare providers are also making the shift to digital record-keeping and patient charts. Hundreds of servers and routers may need to be installed to keep up with the data load, and contractors may also need to accommodate the increased electrical and HVAC load that comes along with it, according to the Observer's report on the presentation.
- At Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, for example, officials quickly adapted to these needs by installing a modular data center on the roof of the hospital. John Koch, associate partner at MEP and building systems engineering firm Jaros, Baum & Bolles, said that using prefabricated components saved time on the installation of server racks, lighting and power.
Contractors in some sectors have turned to modular and prefabricated methods in an effort to speed up construction, minimize waste and enhance efficiency through a replicable, assembly-line approach to production.
Clark Pacific is a Sacramento-based firm that designs, manufactures and constructs prefabricated and modular building systems, including panelized components that are customizable to client’s design needs. Director of corporate development Roy Griffith told Construction Dive that prefabrication is taking off among sectors that reiterate design concepts.
“The highly repeatable typologies — things like hotels, senior living, even dormitories in student housing — those are all picking this up and are early adopters into this space,” he said, “simply because you can easily convert a design over to something that is more prefabricatable, more panelized.” For structures like parking garages, “the entire building can become an entire product.” Sloan Kettering’s rapid installation of a rooftop-based, prefabricated data center is one example of this productized approach.
Panelist John Rodenbeck of E4H Architecture said his firm is designing a modular micro-hospital in the Midwest, partly to cater to millennials’ demand for high-tech and specialized care environments. Modular and panelized building components afford developers a little more design flexibility, according to Griffith, and this could be an asset in markets like New York City where space is tight and designers are especially wracking their brains over ways to implement high-tech features.
- Commercial Observer Hospital Builders Need to Be High-Tech to Cater to Millennials: CO Panelists
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