The Real Deal New York

City’s hospitals turn to modular construction as they spend billions updating facilities

Prefab building has yet to gain a strong toehold in development industry
June 26, 2017 08:30AM

NYC Health + Hospitals president Stanley Brezenoff and a rendering of the new ambulatory-care center on Staten Island

As the region’s healthcare institutions spend billions to modernize and expand their facilities, hospitals in the city are turning to modular construction to rein in costs.

An aging baby-boomer population is putting more pressure on the industry to upgrade its facilities quickly and efficiently, the Wall Street Journal reported.

“There is demand for a higher level of care, and a lot of these long-term-care facilities want to upgrade facilities and build them as fast as they can,” said Terry Olynyk, head of PCL Construction’s Agile division, a general contractor that specializes in manufactured-building services and products.

The municipal public healthcare system NYC Health + Hospitals is using modular technology to construct a $28 million, two-story ambulatory-care facility on Staten Island using prefabricated units made in Pennsylvania. It’s the second modular project after the system replaced a Brooklyn healthcare clinic in 2012 that was destroyed by Superstorm Sandy.

“It’s going to be part of our algorithm in terms of deciding how we construct something we need,” NYC Health + Hospitals vice president of corporate operations Roslyn Weinstein said. “We’ll look at timing needs, estimates, the size of the lot and whether it’s doable or not doable.”

The use of modular construction in the city has evolved in fits and starts. Forest City Ratner’s experiment with modular, probably the biggest trial in the city, ended in October when the company sold its prefab business to Full Stack Modular.

Hotel developer and operator CitizenM is using the technology for a 20-story, 300-room project at 185 Bowery, but the technology has yet to catch on in a significant way. [WSJ] – Rich Bockmann