Everyone is now familiar with the coronavirus and the harm it has been causing. If you have followed this outbreak from the beginning, then you are also most likely familiar with Huoshenshan Hospital, the hospital that was built in 10 days in Wuhan, China specifically made to help relieve the other hospitals that are being flooded with patients. This amazing feat was accomplished with the use of prefabricated units. This allowed for a project of such a large scale to be completed in such a short amount of time, along with the thousands of workers operating 24/7 to complete the job. The designers took some inspiration from a similar job that was completed in 2003 for a hospital that was built in just seven days during the SARS outbreak. Designers said that due to terrain and design conditions, they had to start from scratch with their designs. Another main design difference was the way the hospital itself is laid out. Due to the way the virus spreads, they took special consideration to the floorplan of this hospital compared to a traditional one. The layout has different wings where people with varying levels of contagiousness can be kept in order to prevent cross-infection. Special corridors run down the center of the hospital for medical personnel to use and have been designed with the sole purpose of preventing this specific virus from being able to further spread from the wings that they are quarantined too.
The project manager on the job was quoted as saying that a project of that scale usually takes at least two years. Although this job was completed very quickly, some officials are worried about the overall functionality and safety of the buildings. It truly is a remarkable feat that something of that scale could be designed and built in such a short amount of time. As civil engineers, we are often restricted by a number of factors that affect how quickly something can go from an idea to being built. Not only does it take time to accurately do a preliminary design for a project, but then there are often multiple government agencies that have to review the project, and that alone can add months to a project’s timeline. Once redesigning the project and going through multiple rounds of reviews is complete and the project is approved, then and only then can you finally start construction, which is often another time-consuming process, and that is if everything goes right.
Reviewing projects is a necessary evil in order to ensure that everything is up to code and safe for everyone to use in the long run. It is impressive how fast a project like the Huoshenshan Hospital was able to be built and it shows just how fast projects of that magnitude can actually take when there is a proper motive. At the same time, projects need to be monitored in order to make sure that they are safe and no issues will arise from such a fast process that normally takes years.