Construction Innovations That Are Helping The Effort Against Coronavirus

May 8, 2020

The architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry has always been incredibly innovative – and now with the pressure on to reduce the spread of COVID-19, it is also playing a part. The impact of coronavirus on construction has seen many firms move to remote working where possible and introduce social distancing measures on construction sites. However, the coronavirus is also driving the construction industry to think outside the box to find ways to help more people than ever before. Here are a few of the amazing projects that are helping to overcome this global pandemic.

Creating New Clinical Facilities At Pace

Being able to provide sick patients a safe space to isolate while getting the care they need is one of the areas where the construction industry has been able to help. While many existing spaces are being fitted out as new temporary hospitals, there is still a need to provide more patient space. In the UK, design consultancy Arcadis has leveraged the increasing trend for prefabrication and modularization to create pop-up isolation units1. The units would be built in a factory and then assembled on site at existing facilities or treatment centers. Units could be completed and ready to install within weeks.

In China, a 3D-printing company is using their technology to create printed isolation units2. Just 10m² in size, each unit can be printed in two hours, with one printing machine able to create up to 30 rooms a day. The units are made from recyclable materials that can be crushed and recycled if they are not re-purposed after the pandemic passes. Current designs can be placed anywhere there is an electricity connection available, while future designs will feature solar panels to create a standalone solution.

A collaboration between over 100 architects, engineers, doctors, and consultants have developed and shared a design template for transforming shipping containers into self-contained pods for emergency intensive care . A standard 20-foot shipping container can be made into a pod that can house two patients, as well as all the required ICU medical equipment needed for respiratory infections.

Proposing New Ways Of Living

With the prospect of social distancing being required for some time, one architecture firm has proposed a new way of getting food to residents3 living in lockdown conditions. By bringing a local temporary food market to residents, people would be able to get their necessities while reducing the concentration of people in one place. The layout is divided into units that can help ensure there is the recommended social distancing space between shoppers.

Re-Purposing To Build Medical Equipment

Where construction companies can’t build or retrofit existing buildings, they are turning their existing facilities and technology to create new medical equipment. For example, in the UK, plant company JCB are making steel housings4 for Dyson’s new ventilator design. In the US, a fuel cell company which supplies energy devices for buildings is now refurbishing old ventilators which had reached the end of their serviceable life, allowing them to be re-used for new patients.

Pulling Together

In one of the biggest crises of our time, we’re proud to see people across the construction industry coming together to work for the common good. While the impact on construction by the coronavirus will be felt for some time, we will all get through this by working together. If you are one of the many who are now working from home using ALLPLAN software, we have answers to a range of commonly asked questions regarding how you can continue to access your projects. If you still require assistance, the ALLPLAN team are available to help and will be in touch as soon as possible. From everyone at ALLPLAN, stay home, and where you can’t, stay safe.