— July 21, 2020

Innovative solution makes for safer, faster progress on new hospital

When it comes to providing lifesaving care, innovation matters.

That’s why McLaren Greater Lansing is putting intelligent building practices into play as it continues work on its state-of-the-art health care campus, set to open in early 2022.

Instead of building the massive eight-foot-wide sections of racks that are home to the HVAC ductwork, electrical cables, and pipes on-site, the construction team is constructing this crucial infrastructure in a local warehouse before placing it in the hospital.

“Prefabricating these racks in an indoor, controlled environment is safer and allows our skilled trade workers a more comfortable setting than they’d have to contend with in Michigan’s winter cold and summer heat,” said Austin Holcomb, McLaren Greater Lansing director of facilities management. “Instead of building these sections above their heads, our workers are assembling them at ground level before hoisting them up and reconnecting them at the project site.”

This building technique is relatively new to our state, and McLaren’s new hospital is one of the first examples of it being used in the mid-Michigan region.

Many talented skilled trade workers are involved in the prefabrication process, including plumbers and pipefitters, sheet metal workers, electricians, and carpenters. “All the hours spent putting the racks together in the warehouse are hours these workers don’t need to spend on the job site,” said Holcomb. “With the shortage of skilled trade workers in Michigan, it’s critical to get this infrastructure completed ahead of time.”

Once the massive sections of pipe rack are assembled, they’re cut into 20-foot sections and sent to the construction site to be wheeled to the exact spot where each specific piece is set to go. As Holcomb puts it, “It shows up and goes up.”

McLaren Greater Lansing’s new campus is set to open in the spring of 2022. When complete, it will house a 240-bed, state-of-the-art hospital, cancer center, medical services building, and other facilities to support health care delivery, educational opportunities, and medical research.