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Modular Hospital Design
Our modular hospital units are produced with high building safety in mind. At BMarko we take intensive use, in addition to ergonomic area design and hygiene structures into consideration.
Thanks to our expert design team, our buildings are designed and manufactured according to international standards and can have sections such as management offices, ICU’s, modular laboratories, testing areas, doctor and patient rooms, operation rooms, and in-room bathroom and shower units.
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What is prefabrication and modular construction for healthcare?
Prefabrication is manufacturing parts of a building away from the construction site, before bringing them onto the site to be assembled. In some cases, most of a hospital building might be built on-site using traditional methods, but have just headwalls prefabricated off-site, for example.
Modular construction is a specific type of prefabrication. In this case, volumetric boxes are prefabricated off-site in a factory environment. The boxes could be ICUs, or patient rooms, or only bathroom pods, for example. Alternatively, an entire hospital or other healthcare facility could be constructed from prefabricated modules.
What are modular hospitals?
The use of modular and prefab construction for hospitals and other medical facilities is not new.
For years, Nash General Hospital in North Carolina had been renting a mobile trailer for their medical imaging facility. In 2009, they decided to build a new 1,064 sq. ft imaging facility using modular construction. This choice for the addition to the hospital meant that the new facility was opened within 6 months, with minimal disruption to the site and hospital operations.
According to Healthcare Design magazine, the Miami Valley Hospital Heart and Orthopedic Center was the first U.S. hospital to make extensive use of modular prefabrication for a large building. Its bed tower used modular construction for patient bathrooms and opened in 2010. The hospital had a repetitive design, featuring numerous identical rooms on floors with an identical layout, which made modular construction a natural choice for the facility. The modular bathrooms were built in facilities away from the hospital site, transported by truck, and then craned into place on-site.
These are just a couple of examples of American hospitals that have used modular construction — whether for relatively small additions or for large, multi-story buildings.
Why choose prefabricated hospitals?
There are a number of reasons to choose prefab, or modular construction more specifically, for hospitals and other healthcare facilities:
- Speed — Modules can be manufactured in the plant while the site is being prepared (e.g. clearing, excavating, grading, and foundation work). This overlap in processes can shave weeks or even months off your construction schedule!
- Quality — Manufacturing in a factory typically results in greater precision compared to construction in the field. This is especially important for complex, high tech buildings, such as hospitals. After inspections at the factory, modules can be delivered to the site almost completely finished. This means that damage (e.g. to plumbing fixtures, medical equipment, and paintwork) is less likely.
- Less waste, greater efficiency — Designing for factory manufacturing leads to less wasted material than on-site construction. Workers are also more efficient because the equipment needed for each task can be kept at each workstation on the factory line. In contrast, on a building site, workers need to walk to find tools and bring them to all the different points they work on in the building.
- Less labor — Factories are designed for efficiency and require less labor than conventional construction to build an equivalent structure. This is important given the current shortage of skilled tradespeople.
- Safety — There is no working at heights in a modular construction factory and no weather to deal with. This means that workers don’t have to worry about heat stroke, or surfaces getting slippery in the rain, or working in extremely cold temperatures.
- No weather delays — Delays are standard for conventional construction. When a hospital is built in a factory, there are no weather delays. This can make a huge difference, especially in areas with a short construction season, or with unpredictable weather.
- Cost certainty — All the materials for prefabrication are ordered up-front and stored in the factory, ready to use. This means the exact price for materials can be known right away, rather than estimating the price for materials weeks or months in the future when a conventionally built structure is ready to have them delivered to the site.
- Fewer change orders — The National Institute of Building Sciences says, “Compared with traditional construction, PMC [permanent modular construction] projects have statistically fewer change orders, which makes the design/construction process go smoother and faster.”
- Repeatable design — If all your patient rooms are the same, the efficiencies of repeatable processes in the factory are a particularly good fit for your project.
- Customizable — Prefab doesn’t mean cookie-cutter though. Just as with conventional construction, the designs for modular healthcare facilities can be adapted to your needs.
- Less site impact — Having the majority of construction happen off-site results in less site disturbance, such as noise, dirt, and traffic to and from the site. This is especially crucial for additions to existing hospitals, where it’s essential to minimize disruption for patients and hospital staff.
What are the applications for modular hospital construction?
Permanent — Entire hospitals or additions to existing hospital buildings can be constructed from prefabricated modules and placed on a permanent foundation. These modular medical buildings can be single story or multiple stories, and must meet the same building codes as a conventionally built structure. (In fact, modular construction often exceeds code because each module is built to withstand the rigors of transportation and craning into place.)
Temporary — Modules can be used as temporary, portable medical buildings. They can be used temporarily when there’s a surge in demand. The COVID-19 pandemic is one example, but natural disasters and other infectious diseases can result in a temporarily increased need for additional hospital space. Modules are designed for transportation, so it’s easy to move them by crane and truck to a different location when they’re no longer needed.
Emergency preparedness — Modular buildings for healthcare functions (such as isolating and caring for patients, or for testing facilities) may be stored for rapid deployment in case of a future emergency, such as a natural disaster or a second wave of COVID-19.
What types of modular hospital rooms can be manufactured?
Prefabricated patient rooms can arrive on-site, fully equipped with headwalls, medical gas systems, in-room bathrooms and sinks, ICU healthcare-graded HVAC systems, ceiling mounted procedure lights, flat-screen TVs — pretty much all the fixtures. You provide the tongue depressors and cotton swabs, though!
In addition to multi-purpose patient rooms, the following types of rooms can be prefabricated for hospitals:
- ICU rooms
- Exam or consultation rooms
- Imaging suites
- Operating rooms
BMarko Structures is a quality modular hospital company
BMarko Structures is an experienced modular hospital manufacturer. We can help you find a designer to create your hospital’s architectural drawings, and we can provide advice regarding site preparation and the logistics of transportation, delivery, and installation. These details will vary depending on your location and your modular hospital design.
Our timeline estimates for the construction of your prefab hospital building or other healthcare facility are much more reliable than for conventional construction — because there are no weather delays in the factory! We’ve been 100% on time since our founding, and pride ourselves on beating the lead time of anyone else in the industry.
If you’re considering modular construction for your hospital project, get in touch with the experts at BMarko Structures today. We can talk about your needs and answer any questions you might have.
COVID-19 Modular Hospital Project
BMarko Structures designed, constructed, and delivered the keys to 2 hospitals, 48 patient rooms, in 4 weeks from the contract award. Each hospital consisted of 21 modules. The contract was awarded by the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA). Both hospitals are now open for use at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital in Albany, GA and Navicent Hospital in Macon, GA.
“One of the best decisions we made early on were these mobile hospital sites. It really is impressive how well built they are and how quick they got stood up — medically ready with oxygen and everything else.”
-Brian Kemp, Georgia Governor