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The pandemic has laid bare the fragility of the global healthcare system and needs an urgent revamp from civil engineers and architects. Currently, it is imperative to address the heightened demand for fast-track hospital construction, keeping in view both—the present scenario and the long-term sight, to better prepare us for future outbreaks.
Fast-track construction involves the overlap of different phases of a project to allow construction to begin earlier and accelerate at a faster pace. To accomplish this, one needs to have solid decision-making processes in place, open communication, and above all, the right techniques for construction.
In this article, we have listed five techniques that can help construct hospitals speedily:
1. Construction with Precast Components
Precast components are manufactured off-site using molds. In a controlled environment, concrete is poured into a wooden or steel mold with rebar, wire mesh, or prestressed cable; then cured; transported, and put into place at the construction site.
Construction with precast components is safer, faster, flexible, and more affordable than conventional concrete. Precast components help to maximize a project’s potential while making sure that it completes within the stipulated time.
2. Prefabricated Pre-finished Volumetric Construction (PPVC)
Prefabricated Pre-finished Volumetric Construction (PPVC) is a technique where free-standing 3D modules are built with internal finishes, fittings, and fixtures at a facility, before it is delivered and installed on-site.
PPVC offers exemplary quality and efficiency as most of the finishes and electrical and mechanical services are produced and installed together with the modules in the workshop, before sending for on-site assembly.
To optimize the productivity of PPVC, modular design standardization and repetition can be improved by going for high-rise construction.
3. Prefabricated Steel
A prefabricated steel structure building is assembled on-site with prefabricated steel elements produced in a factory-environment and can form an essential part in healthcare facilities.
The components can be produced in a factory, and installed directly at the construction site, making the construction process convenient and fast. This significantly shortens the construction period and greatly increases the construction speed.
4. Digitalization of Construction Site
RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tagged workers, P&M, and materials can offer complete and immediate access to information of the construction site, saving time and labor used for retrieving information related to different parts of construction.
An RFID tag is a memory device placed on a chip that is enveloped in a protective case and can be embedded in any object which stores dynamic information about the object. These provide data that can be analyzed and used for improvements and innovations.
A schematic model of data collection during production, shipping, and on-site activities is shown in the figure above.
In this approach, collecting data begins when an order for the supply of materials or equipment is being placed. Once a component is manufactured, or the material is ready for delivery, it is attached with an RFID tag possessing a unique ID and specific information.
Another scenario for tagging materials and components could be conducted at the construction job site. Whereby, upon the arrival of materials, the RFID tag is manually attached to materials and objects.
5. Implementing BIM
The application of BIM technology in hospital infrastructure is a winning solution for the firms looking to facilitate quality and rapid construction.
Information-rich, highly-detailed, and coordinated BIM models bring down the risk of errors, achieve accurate estimates, create better scheduling, and help project managers develop customized infrastructure.
BIM tools are a great option to speed up the construction of healthcare projects. Pre-construction visualization, interdisciplinary coordination, and better scheduling and planning help avoid costly rework at a later stage and aid faster construction process.
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