Leveraging Technology to Keep the Project on Track

February 15, 2022

A Partner Editorial – Contributed by 

Construction in healthcare has required ingenuity and innovation, resulting in new uses of existing and new technologies to access construction sites remotely, minimize feet on the ground at each job site, and layer in protections for the client, patients, employees, and craftsmen working on site.    

High-definition 3D scanning room technology has proven to be essential for healthcare clients, before and during COVID, as it is able to provide: 

  • Time-stamped work with preserved historical data providing the ability to collect information on utility, medical gas lines, and other critical infrastructure which has been a lifesaver during the renovation of older hospitals and facilities where “as-built” construction does not match the current facility layouts. These 3D scans also provide accurate documentation to support safe and accurate future construction needs. 
  • Minimized client travel thanks to remote walk-through capabilities. Clients unable to travel get a 360-degree, 3D view weekly to check status. 
  • Better coordination with subcontractors resulting in minimized change orders, reduction in errors, fewer subcontractors on the job site, and a host of other benefits.

Robotic “dogs” – Boston Dynamic’s quadruped robots walk through construction sites to inspect progress, measure and report data points, create a digital twin, and compare as-built to building information modeling (BIM). This technology is ahead of the curve as demonstrated for a new Specialty Medical Office Building in Northern California for a confidential healthcare client, where they leveraged the robotic dogs to track and create consistent, real-time point cloud data of the 197,800 SF medical center with 143 doctors’ offices and 116 exam rooms. 

An innovative, proprietary cost estimation application, Hunch, provides clients with a value even with a very limited starting point – sometimes as little as a napkin sketch. With actual cost estimates falling within seven percent of preliminary “hunch,” healthcare clients are better able to budget in these precarious times as it provides a detailed breakdown of costs by scope, including clarifications on the estimates.  

Prefab + modular construction is growing in demand in the healthcare world. With aging infrastructure at many medical campuses and limited space, modular construction offers healthcare facilities a range of immediate and future benefits, including: 

  • Site and utilities can be prepared in advance of modular building delivery, eliminating the lengthy process of constructing the structure, building envelope, installing the equipment, utility rough-ins, etc.  
  • Construction in a controlled environment allows for more precise assembly generating efficiencies that can reduce cost by as much as 20 percent, decrease assembly time, as well as increase quality and precision. The risks associated with tradesmen working in dangerous environments are greatly reduced when the assembly is done on a flat factory floor with access and clearance provided on all sides for machines and assemblymen. Modular construction may allow for complete system installation, start-up and testing while legacy equipment operates, reducing the impact on facilities for lengthy shutdowns and expensive temporary utilities that would be found on a traditional equipment replacement project. 
  • The development of templates for different systems such as HVAC and electrical offers long-term benefits of standardization from both a construction cost standpoint, as well as from a maintenance standpoint. 
  • Regional risks can be factored into developing unique standards to address scenarios such as high seismic risk, hurricane, tornado, flood, fire, low noise, etc. 

In our most challenging times, we find innovations and improvements to better our processes. These developments will continue to change the face of healthcare construction for years to come.  

About Swinerton 

Swinerton provides commercial construction and construction management services throughout the United States and is a 100 percent employee-owned company. Swinerton provides innovative approaches to healthcare facilities with a range of specialized services to support clients ranging from ground-up hospitals and medical office buildings to minor upgrades or complete renovations, with the universal emphasis on patient care first.