Compact timelines, a stressed labor market, and quality control all lead to the need for more efficiency and predictability throughout the construction process. As teams increasingly depend on and look for more ways to prefabricate, the process itself is constantly evolving and requires more collaboration than ever before among all team members. Adopting a phased, collaborative approach for the Sarah Cannon Cancer Hospital at Medical City Plano was a game-changer in terms of the processes and results.
A Different Approach
While early, comprehensive BIM coordination and prefabrication are becoming more common, the Medical City Plano team had particularly lofty goals—find as many opportunities for offsite prefabrication for key trades, while also reducing the schedule and budget. This required a total team effort, simultaneously bringing the design team, general contractor, and key trade partners on board to execute a phased approach to modeling and prefabrication. “By collaborating with all parties at the earliest possible phase, the trades saw the benefit of the model and how it could help plan and problem-solve earlier,” said Lean Program Director Bill Fusco. “And everyone jumped in full throttle to bring the plan to life.”
Executing the Plan
From day one, we worked with an “optimize for prefabrication” mindset, brainstorming as a team to identify and create efficiencies using VDC. We designated individual, cross-functional cluster groups for key components, such as MEP racks and exterior skin, and quickly determined who was doing what to hold improve planning and coordination efficiency. This resulted in 3-D models of all prefabricated components, allowing us to take conceptual ideas and put them into files alongside the design team to leverage each partner’s expertise and increase collaboration.
One of the most critical components to the success of the project was modeling and coordinating the multi-trade corridor and patient room MEP racks. The project required racks for three floors in the new patient tower and two of the floors had the exact same specifications. To save time in the schedule, we coordinated those levels simultaneously. “Coordinating the corridor and patient room racks ahead of the rest of the building meant we could start prefabrication much earlier,” said Vice President Russell Templin. “The conceptual models became more detailed as we moved through the timeline, and that progression allowed us to problem-solve sooner with full transparency between all parties, including the owner.”
According to Fusco, another significant outcome of the “optimize for prefabrication” mindset was the prefabricated exterior panels, complete with glass and fully water-tested prior to installation. Not only did this provide another opportunity for quality control, it also allowed the team to dry in the building 25 percent faster than usual. “By providing a dry environment so quickly, we gained even more efficiencies because then we were able to install other components much earlier than typical too,” said Fusco.
Medical City Plano Results
Thanks to a commitment to early collaboration from all stakeholders, there were only four RFIs during 3-D coordination—validation that early design involvement is a key component to becoming more efficient. “We were able to build the building and resolve any problems in the model instead of during construction at the jobsite,” said Templin. “These efforts allowed us relocate over 90,000 trade partner man hours offsite for premanufactured components, ultimately reducing our fabrication schedule by 6.7 percent and budget by 10 percent compared to traditional methods.”