Timing is everything!  As I was preparing for a LEED for Healthcare presentation this week, one of my partners sent me a piece about the innovative use of "pods" to cut building costs. The article by Mike Boyer focused on a team of two plumbing and mechanical contracting firms who want to transform how the healthcare industry and other owners construct their facilities.

McGraw-Hill Construction estimates that the health care market will grow by more than 15% next year to almost $30 billion nationally.  According to the article, "…health care is the fasting growing market for prefabrication and modular construction, with 49 percent of all projects using it in some fashion."  

The prefabricated bathroom pods featured in the article are designed and built off-site and then they are transported and installed on-site.  Prefabrication offers many advantages, including:

  • Promotes sustainability. While prefabrication is not new to the industry, it is gaining support because of its "environmentally friendly building techniques" such as less production of waste.  Modular assembly often involves pre-determined material quantities that generally lead to less scrap.
  • Saves time.  During design, conflicts can be identified early in the process that may result in significant time-savings.  Additionally, since the assembly is performed offsite, there is the ability to perform multiple scopes of work simultaneously.  For example, a bathroom pod built by PIVOTek usually takes 120 hours in the plant versus 160 hours on the construction site. Time savings = cost savings = revenue generation.
  • Improves safety conditions.  Since many of the prefabricated items are built in a plant, the working conditions can be safer: "Assembly is done at bench height inside a building, rather than requiring workers to climb ladders and scaffolding on site."

Of course, use of prefabricated items requires the right project. Can you identify any problems with prefabricated and/or modular assembly?

Image: B. Tse