Middle East Health speaks to KEF Infra’s
Sumesh Sachar on why offsite construction can bring transformative solutions
to meet regional healthcare infrastructure needs.
It is hard to imagine that one day hospitals, with their juggernaut of complex structural elements, piping and electricals, will simply be picked from a catalogue, built in half the time it usually takes, and at considerably less cost. Sumesh Sachar, CEO at KEF Infra, the infrastructure arm of UAE-based KEF Holdings, begs to differ. “This reality is here already and ready to take over,” Sachar says, referring to the company’s initiative developed by its healthcare arm, KEF Health in association with Australian hospital design consultants, TAHPI, called ‘Catalogue Hospitals’.
Of the five model hospitals developed within this catalogue, KEF Infra is already nearing the completion of its first project, MEITRA Hospital, which will be India’s first fully offsite-constructed 205-bed tertiary facility that can be scaled to 500 beds. With a total build-cost of just US$5.8 million, the concept hospital spanning 27,870 sq. m. will be delivered in a record 18 months, making a very strong case for its potential.
the process towards plug-and-play
At the core of offsite construction is building information modelling or BIM software Revit. “The technology on which hospital design is built is fascinating. We look at the equipment requirements of the facility and apply it to the Revit model to determine everything from the geometry, shape, the ceiling-floor height of the building. We also factor in details such as how many operating rooms are required, or where should the patients wait at this stage,” adds Sachar.
Other technology software such as ETABS and SAFe are applied to the design to check structural quality and stability. KEF Infra also applies Sofistik, an advanced software primarily used in Europe to gauge the building’s behaviour in seismic conditions. From an energy efficient standpoint, the use of insulated wall panels, radiant cooling, and high U-value aluminium cladding, all contribute to a reduction in operating costs for the facility.
Sachar notes that in the Middle East context, the precast concrete facades used in offsite build drastically reduces the work required to fire-proof buildings, adding another advantage to the mix.
Once the structural model is finalized, the MEP (Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing) design, which forms the most complex part of hospital structures, is layered on to the structure design and tested for clashes. Clash detection is a critical part of the process that is applied early on in the design phase and continues to be applied at every stage while building the model.
Sachar explains: “Clash detection delivers huge cost savings compared to conventional design, because we are able to identify right at the start where the gaps and cut-outs need to accommodate the MEP matrix.”
construction and delivery phase
For example, in cement, the design mixcan be tested and checked for consistency. On the other hand, the curing period of concrete is controlled, rather than leaving it to the environment, which can yield imperfect results. Processes such as steam curing lends to the cement strength and structural durability of the building. Adding to this the precision offered by highly automated manufacturing processes further increases the quality of offsite-built structures.
and precision installation
“In this format, you know exactly where each piece must go, which floor or grid, much like a jigsaw puzzle. The frames are then connected using a ‘clicking’ technology that is very simple,” Sachar notes. “By developing the MEP structure using BIM, we are able to handover to the customer a complete mapping of the hospital, as well as an operating manual on how to best utilize and manage the facility.” In the case of Catalogue Hospitals, the installation and commissioning team additionally offers back-to-back warranties on the equipment sourced from KEF Health partners, GE Healthcare, thereby laying out a total turnkey solution for customers.
How the Middle
East can benefit from modular hospitals?
“In the Gulf countries, there is a measured benchmark against which we can apply the various design, time and cost utilities of modular construction. Across the region, however, there are markets that are still grappling with outdated hospital infrastructure, where quick and effective solutions can play a significant role in saving lives,” says Sachar.
“At KEF Infra, we have started speaking to potential partners in Africa as well, where the demand for modern hospital infrastructure is understandably at a peak.” With the benefits weighing well over any potential disadvantages, it does seem puzzling why the region has not taken a keener interest in the catalogue hospital proposition.
“It comes down to awareness and education, as with any other avant-garde take on concepts that have not changed for centuries. Offsite or modular construction is not really a new concept if you think about it, but the modern treatment to its application in industries such as healthcare is revolutionary. I believe it is only a matter of time before modular design takes root, and evolves in to something even bigger and better,” Sachar says.
KEF Holdings and MEITRA
Meitra hospital, developed by KEF Infra for KEF Health illustrates the company’s innovative approach to healthcare. Besides highly superior build quality, the hospital will feature advanced patient management services developed with renowned specialist doctors from Cleveland Clinic, and also house state-of-the-art equipment from GE Healthcare. Combining clinical specialties such as Cardiology, Cardiovascular and Thoracic surgery, Neurology, Neurosurgery and Orthopaedics, among others. Meitra hospital is set to open its doors by 1 December 2016.
Delivering new healthcare
capacity across the Middle East
Recent data from Alpen Capital estimates that the Middle East’s healthcare market will grow by more than 50% over the next five years. Research from MEED presents a similar outlook, with US$60bn worth of investment planned or already underway to help create new healthcare facilities across the region.
This is in response to a number of important trends that are converging at the same time. Rising populations, higher life expectancy rates, wider adoption of healthcare insurance and the rise of lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular illnesses, are just some of the factors that are creating a need for much greater healthcare capacity within the GCC.
In response to this growing demand, several countries have already allocated significant budgets as part of their ambitious nationbuilding programs. The challenge now will be to deliver the next wave of hospitals and clinics that enable medical professionals to provide a level of care that responds to their patients’ needs and improves quality of life for the local populations.
the impact of investment in new healthcare assets
Governments remain committed to prioritizing investment in healthcare, however the current economic climate means there is an added pressure to ensure that the budget spent, delivers the best possible outcomes for clinicians, patients and local communities.
Many of the world’s leading healthcare providers are already active in the region, however on a number of existing projects, they’re finding that the full benefits and strategic intent behind their schemes are not yet being realized. This is partly due to the complexity that can arise as a consequence of the number of different stakeholders typically involved in designing and creating a new healthcare facility, however it’s also due to the manner in which new healthcare capacity is currently being delivered.
rather than ‘project’
This program-level approach must be vision-led, aligned to strategic objectives, benefits focused, and able to cut across institutional boundaries that are typical on healthcare schemes. If a single project is about delivering a discrete output like a new hospital building, a program is about the big picture, the delivery of outcomes and the realization of a number of strategic and measurable benefits.
In practice these outcomes may include achieving the capabilities and throughput required across a series of healthcare facilities to reconfigure the way in which services are delivered within a healthcare system. The associated benefit might be an improvement in the quality of care provided, characterised by a lower length of stay for stroke patients or a reduction in readmission rates.
The benefits of a program
1. A more effective delivery
2. The opportunity
to design a genuinely patient-centred system
3. A clearer
4. A stronger,
a long-term view of success
|Date of upload: 15th Nov 2016|
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