Construction leaders pursue the need for speed, durability and adaptability

For some organizations, speed of build has become more important than cost, given how quickly they need to adapt to changing situations. During the pandemic, many organizations were forced to revamp space to accommodate physical distancing, or in the case of hospitals, to accommodate a surge in patients.

Work in hospitals presents unique challenges for general contractors, as the spread of dust that comes with conventional construction options such as drywall is problematic in an active, operating critical care unit (CCU). Furthermore, they wear down over time, requiring future renovation disruption and dust.

That’s why EvergreenHealth chose DIRTT for its CCU. After seeing how durable DIRTT’s prefabricated interior construction components were in a 2017 project, EvergreenHealth opted to build as much of the CCU as possible with DIRTT. In only five months, the architect (kmd Architects) and general contractor (Aldrich + Associates Inc.) built out 22,000 square feet of the CCU, resulting in a space that offered functionality and durability, along with improvements to reduce costs, improve efficiencies on the ward, and deliver exceptional patient care.

The speed of build is one reason many GCs are opting for prefabricated interior options, as many still face a backlog of projects. 

Prefabricated interior solutions can be constructed much faster than conventional options, and they can quickly be converted into larger or smaller spaces, says David Macro, Vice President at multi-trade prefabrication company AMP Interior Construction based in the Buffalo area.

I would say pre-pandemic, it was really about look — people really just like the look of [prefabricated interiors]. From a design standpoint, they are cool and different,” he says. “Now, it’s really about speed. People can’t believe the lead times and the speed that we can deliver. It just blows their minds.”

DIRTT Dallas DXC
Photo by James John Jetel

Embedding technology in workplace

The need for collaboration in the new hybrid era, including those working in the office and remotely, is also driving demand for prefab solutions that can embed the required technologies seamlessly within their workplace.

“Everybody’s coming to the table now, really trying to figure out how to connect to the remote workplace, and hybrid workspaces,” says Brett Allen, technology lead at DIRTT. “We’re really trying to focus on making sure we bridge the gap between connecting virtually and connecting in person.”

That bridge is important, as Forbes notes the majority of existing workplaces do not have many options for a hybrid workforce.

Jennifer Warawa, DIRTT’s Chief Commercial Officer, says leveraging technology in workplace environments will be a huge trend in the years to come, as more organizations adapt to that hybrid environment.

Warawa says more general contractors are embracing the opportunities prefab can bring to interior space because they are both functional and aesthetically pleasing.

“It’s forcing them to start to think differently and build differently,” she says. 

Warawa believes the right space can help organizations adapt to constant change, while also ensuring they attract and retain the right talent to help their operations move forward.

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