Construction and additions to hospitals typically face several unique challenges. Tight project schedules, no space for waste and debris, and patient and staff occupancy can make it difficult to use typical field-built construction techniques.
As a result, prefabrication is becoming a smarter form of construction for building enclosures used on hospitals and medical centers across the country. Prefabricated finished wall panel solutions are lightweight, energy efficient, durable, cost-effective, and require only a fraction of field personnel for a typical installation. By specifying a fully engineered and tested, code compliant panel with the option of using virtually any desired aesthetic — from brick, metal and natural stone to the most modern, light-weight energy-efficient coating systems — owners and designers have the freedom to choose the look they prefer while meeting the schedule and performance requirements of the general contractors at an attractive price.
A case in point is with Inspira Health Network’s medical center vertical expansion and soon thereafter a new build of a medical center and medical office building, both in New Jersey.
With a project consisting of a vertical expansion to the Inspira Medical Center in Vineland, NJ, Jersey Panel worked with the architect to determine the most feasible way to match the aesthetics of the original building while incorporating new design elements. They then engineered, fabricated, and installed approximately 30,000 sq. ft. of exterior wall panels to complete the job in record time.
Because the addition required all construction to occur at the site of a fully operating hospital, the design and construction team's top priorities were speed to market, minimizing disruptions to healthcare professionals, patients, and visitors, limiting the number of workers on-site and reducing the amount of waste and debris that comes with traditional field-built projects. The architect's design for this vertical expansion required matching the aesthetics of the existing one-story building while also considering the main adjacent hospital building, which had also used prefabricated exterior wall panels. In addition to the two new floors being added on top of the existing one-story structure, the design called out for metal panel elements which were new to the overall design.
Jersey Panel was familiar with the Inspira Medical Center, having installed the panels on the main building during its original construction. They put their knowledge to work for them by recommending the use of StoPanel Classic NExT ci, a lightweight prefabricated panel that is energy efficient and durable, with continuous insulation, and includes StoGuard waterproof air barrier and the patented “Sto Wedge” to provide an integral means for drainage. They even created a mock-up that helped members of the architect firm, Array Architects, visualize how the original design could be modified to take full advantage of utilizing a fully engineered and pre-finished, prefabricated StoPanel wall assembly for the vertical expansion.
Since Jersey Panel’s facility was in close proximity to the jobsite, they were able to fabricate extra-large 35’ W x 16.5’ H panels and transport the oversized loads to the jobsite 10-minutes away. Working with larger panels accelerated the completion time considerably, reducing disruptions at the hospital while helping to control costs.
The metal panels that were originally designed were replaced using an ultra-smooth finish, a unique finish that Jersey Panel used to replicate the appearance of metal panels. They were able to maintain the desired aesthetics while saving considerable money and reducing the number of transitions that typically occur between different wall claddings. Using a crane and a small crew of approximately six workers, the entire exterior facade was erected in less than two weeks.
Jersey Panel and Array Architects teamed up again for a major ground-up project for Inspira Health Network’s new build in Mullica Hill, NJ. The Inspira Medical Center and Medical Office Building project took full advantage of an Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) design and construction approach. With early involvement, Jersey Panel provided valuable design assistance to the team, taking advantage of an exterior prefab solution. Selected as the prime building envelope contractor, they provided the engineering, fabrication, shipping, and installation of a total of 121,000 sq. ft. of prefabricated wall panels.
In terms of design, the client wanted a variety of textures and materials such as stone and metal but had a restrictive budget and an accelerated timeline. The existing hospital, which was being replaced, was too small to serve the community causing many residents to seek treatment elsewhere, therefore completing the new hospital as quickly as possible was essential.
Having worked with Jersey Panel, the client understood the value of a panelization solution. They were brought in during the early design development stage and were able to collaborate with the design and construction teams to develop a design that met the client's aesthetic, financial and deadline requirements. The design was created using three different types of panels with a variety of textures - stone, limestone, corrugated metal and wood grain metal - to achieve an eye-catching facade. Fabricating multiple claddings off-site significantly reduced on-site labor costs while exceeding the installation schedule which contributed to the new hospital and office building opening on time and on budget.
Panelization offers a wide range of aesthetic choices and provides energy efficient, unique solutions to construction project challenges, with an expedited construction schedule and offering a low maintenance and sustainable form of wall design and construction.