je dunn construction master logo
Thought Leadership
Preconstruction
Federal

Bringing Technology to Life: A Blended Approach to Enhance the Preconstruction Process

Preconstruction teams are merging technology to enhance the client experience.

Client engagement in the design and preconstruction process is one key to ensuring the project gets off to a successful start while meeting the needs and goals of each owner. Teams are getting increasingly creative in how they do this. From large-scale, life-size mockups for users to physically experi­ence the space to “stepping” inside designs virtually to “walk” a new facility before construction commences, we are finding new ways to collaborate. The team at Fort Leonard Wood is taking this one step further, blending two techniques to leverage technology and virtual reality while providing physical mockups of the space for the owner, doctors, nurses, and other hospital staff.

The challenge with merging the techniques is finding the right combination and mockup approach that works for each owner, as there are many ways to provide and utilize them. In some cases, the rooms are built early in the construction process; this restricts the ability to make changes to the design due to the speed and schedule of construction. In other cases, the mockups are limited to select rooms such as a surgery suite or exam room, which doesn’t provide an overall sense of the space. Mockups have also been created once design is complete, which would require rework on part of the designer to correct the documents. Doing virtual and physical mockups early in design reduces the rework, supports changes by the end-user, and builds early confidence that the design is headed in the right direction.

PUTTING MOCKUPS TO THE TEST
To overcome the challenges presented by the ever-changing world of medical equipment, JE Dunn built facsimile medical equipment (made from foam) to represent the current industry practices and design criteria to allow the visitors to get full-scale, touch-and-feel review of the room. For USACE to finalize the equipment selections with JE Dunn and other equipment contractors, this mockup phase is a crucial piece in understanding the needs of departments and the coordination with the other spaces and equipment. This innovative approach allows many medical professionals to comment on numerous design decisions that could impact comfort and operation in the new space. For instance, the end users at the Fort Leonard Wood facility changed medical gas locations based on their best practices. Equipment locations were changed to improve workflow or circulation around the rooms. Instruments and other wall-mounted equipment were adjusted for better reach and access. Layouts were tweaked to improve the mother’s experience in Labor and Delivery Rooms.

VIRTUAL IMMERSION
As the first contract within the Department of Defense Medical to require virtual reality, this project is utilizing this tool to allow visi­tors and reviewers to “walk” the new facility before it is constructed. The VR mockup is intended to provide the same scale and immer­sion as the physical mockups but allows for greater access to spaces that cannot necessarily be created in the warehouse. Everything from medical equipment to chairs in waiting areas were modeled for users to see.

Through a combination of the VR headset and 3-D modeling, the guesswork of interpreting 2-D construction drawings is removed, which makes users feel as though they are in the building and allows medical professionals to quickly understand the end product that will be delivered. “It was very encouraging to see how much natural light the new hospital will have,” said Colonel Aaron Pitney, current hospital commander. “The rooms are modern, private, and have so many useful upgrades. The Defense Health Agency team along with the US Army Corps of Engineers took all our feedback; I was especially appreciative of our GLWACH staff who took the time to provide clinical input to the facility. That level of integration will benefit patients and our staff, as well. To date, this tool has proven extremely useful in developing the design details of this project.”

BENEFIT OF A BLENDED APPROACH
Outside of the design coordination improvement, the biggest project benefit of merging mockups with virtual reality technology is the comfort and confidence gained by clients through early visualization of the physical and virtual spaces. Being able to see the project come to life early on increases trust and excitement, and that is immea­surable throughout the remainder of design. In fact, the reception counters in the main lobby at Fort Leonard Wood were revised within 10 minutes of virtual-reality review to improve the aesthetic of the space and reduce barriers between workers and visitors (thus creating a more welcoming environment). Getting the end-user feedback early in design gives the architect and medical equipment planner a better chance to maximize square footage and infrastruc­ture without multiple extensive design iterations. “The chance for up-front input that can change the design immediately is invaluable,” said Kelly Miller, USACE Kansas City. “The results we saw at Fort Leonard Wood were so encouraging—with enhanced collaboration between all parties—that this approach has the potential to change the way we build in our projects going forward.”

Tommy Turner
Senior Project Manager

related headlines

Projects
Cultural & Entertainment Federal
Colorado Springs Denver
United States Air Force Academy
Cadet Chapel Historic Restoration
US Air Force Civil Engineering Center
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Projects
Federal Healthcare
Kansas City
Fort Leonard Wood
Hospital Replacement
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Kansas City District
Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri
Thought Leadership
Preconstruction
Design
Federal
Delivering Together: The Value of Maximizing Collaboration in the Federal Space
Margaret Bowker
Senior Vice President
March 2022
Thought Leadership
Preconstruction
Cultural & Entertainment Federal
Colorado Springs
Virtual Modeling Changes the Communication Game at the US Air Force Academy Cadet Chapel
Donny Tennyson
Vice President
August 2021
Case Study
Federal
850 Strong: A Look Inside a Team's Hurricane Resilience
Traci Clatterbuck
Marketing Director
October 2020
Projects
Cultural & Entertainment Federal
Colorado Springs Denver
United States Air Force Academy
Cadet Chapel Historic Restoration
US Air Force Civil Engineering Center
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Projects
Federal Healthcare
Kansas City
Fort Leonard Wood
Hospital Replacement
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Kansas City District
Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri
Thought Leadership
Preconstruction
Design
Federal
Delivering Together: The Value of Maximizing Collaboration in the Federal Space
Margaret Bowker
Senior Vice President
March 2022
Thought Leadership
Preconstruction
Cultural & Entertainment Federal
Colorado Springs
Virtual Modeling Changes the Communication Game at the US Air Force Academy Cadet Chapel
Donny Tennyson
Vice President
August 2021
Case Study
Federal
850 Strong: A Look Inside a Team's Hurricane Resilience
Traci Clatterbuck
Marketing Director
October 2020
Case Study
Federal Healthcare
Innovation In-Style for the Design on the New GLWACH
Tommy Turner
Senior Project Manager
October 2020
Projects
Corporate Environments Federal
Kansas City
Richard Bolling Federal Building
Phases I - IV Renovations
General Services Administration
Kansas City, Missouri
Projects
Federal
Portland
Peace Arch Land Port of Entry
General Services Administration
Blaine, Washington
Projects
Federal Healthcare
Kansas City
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Medical MATOC Program
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Little Rock District
Nationwide
Projects
Federal Justice
Portland
Pioneer Federal Courthouse
Seismic Upgrade Rehabilitation
General Services Administration
Portland, Oregon
Tommy Turner
Senior Project Manager
No data was found