Into the Hangar: Prefabrication of the New UPHS – Marquette Hospital at Sawyer

You may not have known that pieces of the new $300 million UP Health System – Marquette hospital are being built in a hangar at the Sawyer International Airport.

In approximately 28,000 square feet of hangar space, three crucial elements of the new hospital are being put together in a process called multi-trade prefabrication.

These three pieces of the puzzle are the corridor racks, headwalls, and bathroom pods, all of which will be transported to the site of the new hospital in Marquette, MI, slated for completion in the fall of 2018.

In fact, a large portion of the new hospital – nearly half of the planned 500,000 square foot facility – will be assembled off-site.

Prefabrication is a construction process used to increase safety, improve quality, save time, and maximize the utility of the workforce.

By prefabricating these elements of the new hospital off-site, workers can continue building these complex and intricate parts of the building in a temperature-controlled environment through the winter. By building parts of the hospital off-site at the hangar, the modules are also shielded from dirt, dust, and the snow.

Scott Hansma is Senior MEP Superintendent with Skanska-Closner and oversees work at the hangar. Born in Michigan but calling Cincinnati his home, Hansma volunteered for the position, driven by an interest to explore the Upper Peninsula and to work on the new hospital project. Hansma has been involved with seven hospital construction projects to date.

“The prefabrication process allows us to work on parallel timelines. While the primary structure goes up, we’re completing important components that will be added later,” Hansma said.

After the components have been transported to the primary construction site, a large lift basket and crane are used to bring the pieces into place.

“Prefabricating the corridor racks, for example, drastically reduces injury risk. These are large components that can be brought in already assembled rather than working overhead to piece them together,” Hansma added.

Back on West Baraga Ave. in Marquette, at the site of the new hospital, fireproofing of structural beams will soon take place. After that, some of the first pre-fabricated pieces will be brought onto the main construction site to test their fit with the structure.

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