Page 16 — Health Care Properties Quarterly — July 2018 Construction T he health care industry is constantly evolving. Due to medical advancements, death rates are decreasing while life expectancy is increasing.This has created a demand for new and updated health care facilities.To keep up, health care is looking to the con- struction industry to speed up sched- ules for new facilities and renovation projects.Thankfully, advancements in prefabrication have allowed health care establishments of all sizes to be built in record time without sacrificing quality. National hospital occupancy rates have decreased from 77 percent in 1980 to roughly 61 percent today, accord- ing to the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission.This decrease not only reflects increasing life expectancy due to technological advances, but also due to the recent migration from inpatient to outpatient care.Today’s consum- ers don’t want to be limited by the one-size-fits-all hospital model.They want smaller, more convenient loca- tions that give themmore options.The pressure on health care to reduce costs while improving the patient experience has led them to new real estate strate- gies. Enter feeder facilities.These include microhospitals, urgent cares, outpa- tient centers and wellness centers.The demand for these smaller-sized facili- ties requires building solutions that result in faster project completion at a lower cost. With hospitals focusing on build- ing smaller facilities to accommodate more outpatient procedures within fast-growing cities, modular and pre- fabricated construction trends are on the rise. Construction and engineering firms are hyper-focused on cost effi- ciency while also maintaining high quality and meeting the extreme time constraints that new hospital construc- tion requires. And not all mechanical contractors have the experience to meet this demand. When considering hiring a mechanical contractor, just like a general contractor or other trades, health care facilities directors want to ensure the contractor is trained and experienced in the complex require- ments of medical facility construction. The key to building a regulation com- pliant prefabricated facility is rooted in the upfront understanding of hos- pital-specific requirements, obtaining/ maintaining required or recommended contractor certifications and investing in health care-specific safety training for all project teammembers. Because mechanical systems are involved in sterilization, infection con- trol, imaging equipment and patient hygiene and comfort, a mechanical contractor with health care experi- ence will take the time to understand the safety and security requirements of each facility before beginning work. The contractor should serve as a mechanical adviser and meet with the project team and project owners regu- larly and frequently – beginning on Day One. By adopting a modular building approach, mechanical contractors are helping general contractors increase medical project success. Prefabrication increases efficiency through less wast- ed material and improves the speed of construction. Repetitive processes lead to more consistent quality and fewer mistakes. Prefabricated mechanical systems, specific to health care facili- ties, include bathroom components or whole bathroom pods, MEP racks, wall board systems, exterior elements, central and electrical plants, operating rooms and much more. More recent applications include modular mechani- cal rooms as well as patient and exam rooms. With the ability to prefabricate plumbing, HVAC and electrical systems off-site and then quickly install them on-site, hospitals gain assurance that the mechanical por- tion of the project will accelerate the process, and if it’s a renovation, minimize the impact on patients and business operations. On aver- age, prefabrication can significantly reduce construction schedules or mechanical system installations. And according to a 2015 McGraw- Hill Construction SmartMarket report on prefabrication and modu- lar construction, contractors believe that prefabrication can decrease project schedules by four weeks or more. In addition, 65 percent of contractors believe that prefabrica- tion leads to a decrease in budget and, because of that, more than 49 percent of health care projects now incorporate prefabrication. Key elements that contribute to this expedited process include: enhanced communication and col- laboration between the general con- tractors and the off-site fabricators, materials fabricated in climate-con- trolled facilities to prevent weather delays, enhanced productivity and increased project efficiency. Prefabricating mechanical, plumb- ing and electrical systems off-site in a manufacturing facility reduces conges- tion between trades on the construc- tion site. And for renovations of operat- ing facilities, a modular approach mini- mizes potential disruptions for medical employees and patients. Ultimately, by accelerating the construction of exist- ing and new facilities, an experienced MEP contractor can help the health care industry maintain current opera- tions and open new facilities more quickly, reducing the costs of down- time and boosting the bottom line. Prefabrication also creates safer working environments for construc- tion employees, and, if a renovation, for hospital patients and staff as well. Prefabricated mechanical systems are built in a controlled environ- ment, which means that as little as 20 percent of the work is done at the construction site, reducing health and safety risks. Because systems are built indoors, prefabrication also improves safety by keeping workers out of bad weather and reducing the need for high ladders and platforms. More than one-third of McGraw-Hill survey respondents who utilize prefabrica- tion say they have seen safety improve companywide. With more and more medical facili- ties evolving their real estate strategies to include a larger portfolio of smaller outpatient facilities, the need for expe- rienced mechanical construction firms that understand health care construc- tion prefabrication is on the rise.The safety, speed and reliability that prefab- rication offers are crucial as construc- tion is advancing along with this ever- evolving industry. ▲ Prefab helps health care keep up with demand Site selection Development Real Estate Investment Energy Planning & Analysis Facility Assessment Facility Operations and Maintenance Planning Healthcare Construction <$1M - $500M + Serving as more than just a builder, Mortenson’s dedicated healthcare experts ensure your business continues and evolves with a level of certainty. For more information, please contact: Bruce LePage 720 259 4892 Saint Joseph Hospital UCHealth Highlands Ranch Hospital CU Sports Medicine & Performance Center Lutheran Medical Center Marc Paolicelli Chief customer officer, RK