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DIRTT’s digital construction could be the answer.

A new report from Transwestern paints a critical scenario for the future state of medical space in the United States. Transwestern is the largest dedicated healthcare real estate firm in the U.S. In September they released the report called Medical Office Space Gets Tight. By 2020, it says, Americans aged 65 and older will equal 56 million people, or 17% of the total US population. It’s a growth rate 14 times that of people aged 64 and younger. It also means an increased need for medical space to accommodate that 65+ population.


According to the study, by 2019 the demand for medical office space could range from 150.5 million to 225.8 million square feet. At the current time, there’s an estimated 110 million square feet of available medical office space within existing and under-construction buildings. That math doesn’t bode well for the healthcare industry, not to mention the generation most in need of its medical services.

Transwestern says one viable path forward is to “accelerate the trend of repurposing empty retail space for medical uses.” And that’s where DIRTT comes in with its digital construction platform.

With traditional building methods, challenges such as skilled-labor shortages and high-cost materials make renovating interiors of buildings into healthcare spaces slow and expensive. But when you use a digital platform for custom mass-manufacturing, it changes everything.

Digital construction in action

Hudson River Healthcare (HRH) in Poughkeepsie, New York, is an example of one healthcare group that turned to digital construction out of necessity. They needed more space but the only building available to them was a longshot. “It was a former IBM punch card sorting plant and had all the amenities one could expect from that,” said Benjamin Bolton, the VP for Planning and Sustainability at HRH.

After considering digital construction as their solution, they took the old IBM plant down to the shell and used DIRTT. The HRH project came together quickly thanks to the power of DIRTT's technology. HRH’s medical teams experienced and modified the initial designs to best suit their patient needs without having to build mock-up spaces or sign-off on blueprints they may or may not fully grasp.


Hudson River Healthcare Hudson River Healthcare

DIRTT gave us real-time updating on costing, which as a change order process becomes critical.

Benjamin Bolton, VP for Planning and Sustainability at HRH.

Disruption was so minimal, they moved in on the main floor while they finished construction on the second. “Where we found ICE really helped us on this project was less as a visualization tool and more of a construction tool,” added Boltin. “It reduced the time that was critical on the submittal process by months.”

Without a digital construction platform, the HRH medical space wouldn’t have been possible on that timeframe or within the project’s necessary parameters. As demands for medical space grow at a rate conventional construction can’t support, technology-enabled methods of construction, including DIRTT, are the answer forward.

Explore the Hudson River HealthCare project further.   


Julie Pithers

DIRTTbag since (almost) day one, Julie cultivates communities who love DIRTT as much as she does. She cares about environmental sustainability, optimism and finding things funny.


DIRTT Environmental Solutions uses its 3D software to create prefabricated interiors. Each space is tailored to our clients' needs. Manufacturing facilities are located in Phoenix, Savannah and Calgary. DIRTT works with nearly 100 Partners throughout North America, the Middle East and Asia. DIRTT trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol "DRT".