Modular is the way to go

Faizal Kottikollon, Founder and Chairman, KEF Holdings; Founder and Chairman, Faizal & Shabana Foundation elaborates on improving construction efficiency and productivity in the healthcare industry with modular construction

Faizal Kottikollon, Founder and Chairman, KEF Holdings; Founder and Chairman, Faizal & Shabana Foundation elaborates on improving construction efficiency and productivity in the healthcare industry with modular construction

Faizal Kottikollon

Healthcare expenditure currently consumes a large proportion of the total gross domestic product (GDP) of every country. In recent years, the sector has faced rising costs due to the challenges confronting hospitals, a significant part of this being construction related. However, the outlook for future development remains positive.

Several indicators demonstrate the need for additional healthcare services and hospitals. These include the surge in the population, including in the numbers of the elderly, growing prevalence of lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and heart problems, increasing awareness of health issues and expectations of improved healthcare.

All of these trends are leading to changes within the healthcare services which will require new and different facilities as compared to the existing infrastructure.

A Frost and Sullivan study reports that India’s health care industry is developing at a great pace and is expected to reach $160 billion by 2017. India’s high out-of-pocket-expenditure by patients (>70 per cent of total healthcare costs) indicates that several segments are under-invested, with limited access to health care facilities.

Front view of PMHP Hospital, Calicut under-construction by KEF. It is fully designed and constructed using offsite construction technology including precast and modular technology

India, which has been host to healthcare patients from Africa, CIS, the Middle East, Pakistan and Bangladesh, is leveraging the demand for low-cost healthcare treatments, increasing their potential growth within the rapidly burgeoning medical tourism sector. The global demand for a superior quality and low-cost, medical treatment is expected to drive opportunities in the same sector.

As hospitals and healthcare systems continue to focus on maximising efficiencies in designs and minimising the cost of construction, we will see further opportunities for development from modular construction in renovation or replacement of existing facilities and construction of new hospitals.

With such tremendous opportunities on the horizon, KEF Holdings, specialist in off-site construction and TAHPI, an Australian healthcare design company, together provide and customise the best platforms and infrastructure to enable and its related industries to flourish, and remain on par with global and local standards of excellence, quality and safety.

Fully prefabricated, modular, hopsital bedroom built by KEF TAHPI Design Studio

Using the expertise of soft modular designs and hard modular construction techniques, KEF TAHPI aims to establish new dynamics in healthcare design. Soft modular is about the compartmentalisation of the knowledge of healthcare design into units of planning from departments and services down to rooms, content, finishes and specifications. Hard modular takes these modular designs, then pre-fabricates them in components and delivers them through the industrial efficiency of scale with consistent quality. It replaces ‘construction’ with ‘transportation’ and ‘assembly’. It would be fully functional at the time of delivery with nothing missing for full operation, including all medical and non-medical equipment, furniture, software and automation systems. In short, these are hospitals delivered like a large passenger aircraft. They will be known by capacity, model and the KEF-TAHPI brand. They will come with a warranty like any industrial product.

Applying this model to the healthcare industry means that hospitals and clinic components can be carefully designed in the studio, and then manufactured on a large scale in a facility dedicated to modular construction.

Benefits of using such techniques to the healthcare projects include the considerable reduction in time and cost of construction, which eventually helps patients. Off-site construction also reduces waste material. Additionally, construction quality of modular construction techniques is more desirable than traditional on-site construction.

The ‘challenge’ with modular construction in the industry is the lack of understanding and awareness. Ongoing education within the construction industry is crucial to continued growth and increased market share for permanent modular construction. It is likely that this challenge to modular construction will be less prominent in the coming years as demand to quality healthcare increases.

There are many projects underway at any given time, designed under the traditional, slow and variable processes. It is not too late for these to be delivered under the KEF-TAHPI industrial system.

India is facing several challenges such as space constraints (bed to patient ratio) and quality of healthcare construction. Each of these affects the quality of care that is reliable and safe. Solid time and resource saving measures in construction can help overcome the above. It will no doubt enable doctors to maintain a sterile and clean hospital ecosystem. Modular construction guarantees results which traditional construction has failed to do over the decades.

If healthcare professionals educate themselves and realise that modular construction does not compromise on long-term standards, they will be able to embrace this as the best option to positively develop urban efficiency, patient health and the country’s overall healthcare system.

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