From virtual healthcare to expanding schools, see how commercial construction is changing right now.
The current trends in commercial construction are pointing the way toward exciting developments that will have an impact for many years to come. Here are some examples of how those trends are already making a difference in several sectors of the community and culture.
Expanding Classroom Size Drives Creative Construction Solutions
Building a school that will meet the needs of a community today and still allow room for future growth is harder than many think. When the cost of real estate is high and significant growth is expected in the near future, how does a Board of Education come up with a plan that fits the needs of the community?
In San Carlos, CA, the commercial construction solution involved turning to the firms of Quattrocchi Kwok Architects and Blach Construction.
The result was a new two-story school that costs around 20 percent less per square foot than similar structures. This was possible because of an approach involving the use of pre-engineering known as Folia.
This new kind of building delivers the high-quality durable spaces like traditional construction, but offers shorter construction times and lower costs like modular buildings, all while providing expansive design flexibility and customization.
Double-sized classroom suites can be utilized in several different manners and settings, with easy-to-move furniture and high-quality partitions making it simple to divide up the space.
When classroom size grows, the San Carlos School District will be able to accommodate without having to add new construction.
Real and Virtual Fixes During Hospital Construction
Virtual care is a growing trend in the medical field, and it calls for rethinking the way care centers are constructed. Stations are included in the design so medical professionals can review medical histories, charts, and other relevant data while interacting with the patients using audio and visual connections.
The construction designs must be flexible enough to add more stations as the demand for virtual support increases.
Virtual care for routine medical support is not the only shift in the thinking about health construction. The board at Grove Hill Memorial Hospital in Alabama found this out as they looked for ways to maintain their emergency unit during an expansion project.
Converting other space that was not in use would prove too costly. The solution, instead, was a mobile unit capable or providing emergency medical care while the construction continues.
With everything in place, the hospital can continue serving patients in Clark County that otherwise would have to travel to surrounding counties for treatment in emergency situations.
Medical centers don’t have the luxury of shutting down during renovations or expansions. That creates the need to find a way to handle the construction and still provide healthcare to the community.
The Clark Construction Group recently installed reusable infection-controlled barriers on a commercial construction project. Usually drywall is installed, which takes much more time, is a messier install, and a more difficult to remove. With these new barriers, it’s easier to keep care areas cleaner and safer for patients near construction
New Design Programs Create Energy-Efficient Solutions
Energy efficiency is key to new construction as well as the renovation of older structures. It calls for a different way of thinking about how energy is harnessed and utilized. The professionals at Diamond Schmitt Architects kept that in mind when designing the Environmental Science and Chemistry Building at the University of Toronto Scarborough.
The key to the design process was the use of a resource known as ecoMetrics. The tool makes it possible to compare and measure different energy-saving measures used in various construction projects and extrapolate data that helps in the design of upcoming projects.
One of 44 sustainable commercial construction projects found in the firm’s database, the design for the Environmental Science and Chemistry Building, will serve as a resource for new projects. Thanks to this ability to draw so quickly on experience, the cost of designing a zero-energy, or at least a low-energy consuming structure, will be trimmed significantly.
“With ecoMetrics we are not only gaining a better understanding of energy use across different building types conveyed in simple-to-understand graphics, but also are driving innovation in sustainable design with this knowledge,” said Michal Szabo, Principal, DSA.
Old and New Materials Gain Green Favor
Environmentally friendly construction trends often involve reclaiming and reusing older materials. One example is the reclamation of wood paneling for use in new construction.
Viridian Reclaimed Wood has the technology to assess the condition of reclaimed paneling and infuse it with a range of colors. The result is paneling that can be customized to fit into the new building design with ease.
Outdoor cooling is also a concern. How can a new building be designed to provide comfortable space around the exterior? CallisonRTKL has developed Xylem pods that can lower temperatures by as much a nine degrees Fahrenheit.
The pods are shaped similar to a martini glass, a design that provides room for roofing with live plants to block the sun’s rays and reduce temperatures at ground levels. The stem of the pod also allows for circulation of cool water, which helps make the temperature more comfortable without the need for a lot of energy use.
These are only a few of the exciting ways that commercial construction is coming up with new ways of creating space for learning, healthcare, and public places. Expect to see many more innovations to come along as designers look for the means to make structures more affordable, flexible, and environmentally friendly.