There are 6,146 hospitals in the U.S., according to the AHA. With the rapidly growing need for more space, there is no secret that modular construction is a hit with the healthcare industry today.
Modular construction is ideal for the healthcare industry because it’s fast (around 50% less onsite construction time), cheap and safe, and can be customized to specific requirements. Additionally, it does not disrupt everyday hospital proceedings and goes on in the background without causing any interference. But the need for modular healthcare construction goes a lot deeper than this.
With a diverse array of unique needs, modular construction is proving to be the ideal partner for hospital buildings and other healthcare setups. Let us try to understand how.
Hospitals are large, complex buildings, requiring hundreds of different types of rooms, corridors, nursing units, elevators, box conveyors, etc. – all designed in such a way that they are perfectly spaced to ensure the least possible distance is covered by nurses and other healthcare professionals when checking on patients. The daily functions of a hospital are quite convoluted since there are a large number of entities that are in play at any given time.
A great deal of pre-planning goes into creating a floor design for each level of a hospital building. Modular designs make it possible to create floor plans that adhere to the needs of not just the healthcare professionals but also the patients and other staff.
2Temporary vs. Permanent
Sometimes, the need of the hour may compel a hospital to expand in order to accommodate more patients. This need could either be temporary or permanent. At the time of expansion, it may sometimes be hard for the institute to discern whether or not this need will be a permanent one. In cases like these, one cannot opt for traditional construction because it pretty much becomes a permanent fixture.
With modular healthcare buildings, you have the option of setting up new units whenever necessary, at very affordable rates and taking them down when they are no longer required without demolition. The building is simply dismantled and reused by someone else who may need it. With used modular buildings, you can enjoy mobile building benefits with even lesser cost.
If an institution is still reluctant to invest money in a temporary fixture, modular construction also provides the opportunity to acquire portable healthcare buildings for rent. You can choose to rent individual rooms or even an entire additional wing depending on your need.
Nursing units are one of the most integral parts of a hospital’s structure. The recent trend in nursing units has become compact shapes like rectangles, triangles, and even circles to minimize the distance between the unit and the patient’s bed. The traditional elongated rectangular nursing units have been sidelined. These structures are entirely dependent on the nursing program in that particular hospital.
4Spacing and Visual Clarity
It is extremely important that a nurse has clear visibility of all patient rooms under his/her care, from any given part of the station. This means the outer wall of each patient room has to be made entirely of glass. The distance between each nurse’s station and their respective rooms is made as short as possible, without making the area too cramped. Spacing and visual clarity are crucial to proper nursing and are made effectively possible at a considerably lower price, only through modular construction.
For any healthcare institute, long term planning is critical. It is mandatory to keep room for the possibility of future expansion. Since traditional construction is relatively permanent, it is troublesome to make modifications to a traditionally constructed structure. It usually involves partial demolition and reconstruction. With modular construction, however, expansion is made easy. Modifications can be made by merely dismantling and rearranging specific units of the building.
Huge institutions like hospitals use thousands of tons of energy and water in a month, which can have a profound effect on the environment as well as the economy. Modular construction is a sustainable solution to this problem. It makes it possible to install energy-efficient systems like solar panels, energy-efficient glass, high-quality HVAC systems, and even geothermal systems. Such can be dismantled down to the last bolt and reassembled again, producing zero waste or destruction in the process. It significantly reduces running costs and has less of an impact on the environment.
In order to understand the complex systems and needs of a healthcare institute, one has to get down to the absolute nitty-gritty of a hospital’s functions. Modular construction can do just that, and also provide viable and sustainable solutions.