DeAngelis Diamond: Breaking Ground in Health Care Construction
The concept of freestanding emergency departments has been around for years, but DeAngelis Diamond Healthcare Group is helping change the way the construction is done.
DeAngelis Diamond’s focus on ways to enhance the construction process of freestanding emergency departments (FSEDs) began with a partnership with HCA Healthcare. “HCA invited us to be part of a program to build multiple freestanding emergency departments every year,” explained DeAngelis Diamond Healthcare Group’s Senior Project Manager Bill Heath. “We currently have three of these projects under construction, with four more that will start before the end of the year. We expect this number to increase substantially over the next few years.
DeAngelis Diamond was invited to participate with HCA’s program thanks to the company’s flexibility and eagerness to take on challenges HCA faced, namely, time management. “We were willing to get outside of the norms of the typical construction process,” explained Heath. “We are helping develop and implement a lot of initiatives into the program to streamline delivery to save time, which to a client means a lot of money savings.”
One particular aspect of the process DeAngelis Diamond has helped develop is taking the conventional wall system and converting it to pre-cast wall panels. “So instead of it taking two months to construct exterior walls from start to finish, we are now completing the exterior skin in one week,” Heath said. The company also collaborates closely with the firm that prefabricates the bathrooms, head walls and sink walls that are part of the FSED prefabrication initiative. Another component of the process that is working to improve delivery is prefabrication of the MEP corridor racks, which contain all of the primary duct work, plumbing pipes, electrical conduit and medical gas piping that creates the service loop within the building.
By incorporating these prefabricated components into the construction process, DeAngelis Diamond can shorten each job by approximately one month to six weeks. “Typically, these buildings take six to seven months, and we are now doing them in five months,” Heath added. “We are cutting roughly 18 to 20 percent of time out of the job, which obviously saves the client money and gets their product to market faster.”
In addition to saving time and money for clients, DeAngelis Diamond’s collaboration with prefabricated component providers is helping address a primary issue being faced by the industry: the construction workforce shortage. By moving construction of key components into a factory setting in one location—allowing workers to work consistently in one place instead of traveling around from job site to job site—it can help attract more workers to the industry that otherwise may not be interested. “By taking a large portion of what we do onsite and moving that to a factory warehouse environment, it’s keeping workers from traveling and being away from their families,” Heath added. “They can go to work to the same place every day, and that can make it a more attractive job for craftspeople to work.”