Smart Construction for a Smart Building
How Mariner Holdings leveraged industrialized construction for operational gains
We needed a space we could grow with.
Those are the words Kara Stoecklein used to describe the 2017 Construction project that took place at Mariner Holdings. The Senior Vice President of Human Resources explains they had a vision for their space that included not just how it looked, but how it functioned.
As a forward-thinking organization, they had three key considerations they needed to meet to match their company mission and growth planning goals. One, an adaptable environment that allowed for expansion and general space alterations. Two, a sustainable building process that could meet their environmental targets. And three, an inviting workplace that would attract and retain top talent.
They were able to achieve this using an industrialized construction approach and a system of DIRTT products that empowered it. This put Mariner ahead of the curve in regard to the benefits a smart environment can provide. In 2017, the construction industry hadn’t fully realized the extent to which buildings can help achieve business and employee goals. Since then, a lot has changed.
Smart construction changes the conversation
These days the conversation around smart buildings has expanded. Architects, contractors, and engineers have realized that the construction process has to be just as smart as the building.
The idea of smart construction is at the forefront now among industry leaders. Not just for the benefits seen during design and installation, but because of the long-term benefits modularity can bring. Smart building supports adaptability, sustainability, and health and well-being. Using the DIRTT construction system, Mariner is an example of how these benefits are achieved over time.
The modular nature of DIRTT’s construction system was put to use within the first 18 months in Mariner’s space. With new demands on the space, they converted four small offices into conference rooms. And in doing so, added displays to support presentations and teleconferencing.
In the words of our IT SVP, ‘It’s much easier to mount a TV in a DIRTT wall then a gyp wall. The ease of removing panels versus cutting into (the wall) shortens our upgrade time considerably.
With technology upgrades being a common occurrence since the space was first completed, the DIRTT connected infrastructure cabling system was able to keep Mariner current without obstructing their business.
From the outset, Mariner’s IT team incorporated a DIRTT modular Passive Optical Network (PON) into the space. The use of single mode fiber optic cabling like this is more energy efficient than standard copper deployments. Data signals using PON can travel considerably further than they can with copper, which allowed Mariner to consolidate all the IT equipment into one rack. This removed the need for three cooling units and three battery backups.
As time went on and Mariner continued to adapt the space, there were more sustainability benefits. Those offices that were converted to meeting rooms didn’t require a complete tear down and rebuild. Reusing the recycled aluminum frames and existing wall panels prevented renovation waste from going to the landfill. “We (re-)used 70% of our existing product,” says Abramovitz. And that reconfiguration was done in less time.
Health and well-being
Like most companies, when the pandemic hit, Mariner’s focus on the health and well-being of their employees increased. Looking at how to reintegrate their workforce, they’re embracing a hybrid work model. Technology is needed for flexible work and connected infrastructure supports that evolution and the creation of a safe, inviting environment. The DIRTT system allows organizations to quickly make changes to technology and the built environment and improve the space for those who use it.
“The reconfiguration was non-disruptive,” says Abramovitz. “The loudest noise was a power drill. No dust, no mess, no noise.” This allows Mariner to optimize the space for their team in a way that doesn’t distract them from pressing work, improving engagement and well-being.
Spaces that adapt empower improved productivity and hold their value over time. The team at Mariner Holdings have experienced this since their initial build and will continue to see the benefits for years to come.
“We will be creating more flexible spaces… due to our hybrid work model,” says Abramovitz. “This may include smaller phone booth offices for drop-ins, more conference options for group meetings, and designated video-conferencing spaces.”
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