October 17, 2014

How to Build a State-of-the-Art Hospital in Record Time

The main entrance for the new National Jewish Health – Saint Joseph Hospital is almost ready and will soon display the name.It's no small feat to build an 831,321-square-foot structure in three years. That’s usually the amount of time it takes to plan the building before you even break ground. But the leadership at Saint Joseph Hospital was determined to build its much-needed new facility in record time, without sacrificing quality, safety or beauty. So they set to work.

It Takes a Team

Architects, builders, suppliers, hospital leadership and employees all played a role in building the new hospital. According to Bain Farris, president and CEO of Saint Joseph Hospital, teams spent many hours in planning meetings each week and still maintained their normal workloads. “Everyone was committed to making this happen, so we did what we needed to do to keep the project on track,” said Farris. In the process, the team came up with some innovative and non-traditional ways to shave time off the traditional long timeline for building a hospital.

You’d Never Know it was Prefabricated

By using multiple prefabricated components, many areas of the hospital could be built simultaneously and then quickly inserted, saving months from the traditional installation timeline. The process also improved the quality of the products, as they were constructed in controlled environments.

  • Bathrooms from Massachusetts – Complete bathroom pods were pre-built in Massachusetts, shrink wrapped and shipped to Denver. According to Farris, the bathrooms will be much easier to keep germ-free, as they were built with few seams, and the slope of the shower floors were precisely crafted to the optimal draining slope, a feat that is difficult to achieve through traditional construction methods.
  • Headwall Units – Premade units increase consistency and quality of gases and piping and help minimize errors.
  • Multi-Trade Racks – Rather than installing electricity, duct work, wiring and data one utility at a time as normally done in a construction project, Saint Joseph Hospital installed special racks in the ceilings that allowed them to install the utilities concurrently.
  • Exterior Panels – Huge 40 x 16 foot panels were built offsite in a controlled environment and then shipped to enclose the building faster.


Go Green

In addition to the non-traditional means used to construct the new hospital, the team felt it important that the hospital also be built with a green design. The new building is 40 percent more energy efficient than the current hospital, providing savings and reducing the overall environmental impact, and 65 percent of construction materials were recycled, further reducing the hospital’s footprint.

According to Farris, this state-of-the-art hospital will facilitate the health-giving atmosphere patients and the community have already come to know from Saint Joseph Hospital.