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Aurora Medical Center Grafton

Improving healthcare using industrialized construction

  • Location

    Grafton, Wisconsin

  • SQ FT



    10 Days

  • DIRTT Construction Partner

    LERDAHL – Inspired Workplace Interiors

  • General Contractor


Image Credit: John Magnoski Photography

How do you build 16 new observation rooms in just eight months? If you work in healthcare, you know that kind of construction project usually takes 18 to 24 months. Doing it less than half the time sounds like a big ask. But that’s the timeline healthcare provider Advocate Aurora Health had to add capacity to their medical center in Grafton. Their solution was industrialized construction. By shifting large amounts of work to take place off-site and using technology to streamline the construction process, they saw a huge benefit. Embracing Design for Manufacture and Assembly allowed for predictable outcomes without sacrificing the complexity or customization of the space.

Advocate Aurora Health began talking to the general contracting team at Boldt Construction. In addition to a tight timeline, Aurora had sustainability goals they needed to reach. Knowing that, Boldt showed Advocate Aurora Health a STAAT Mod™ space completed for Northside Hospital in Atlanta. That project saw Boldt creating the base building out of several modular pods. Then they finished the interior using the DIRTT construction system. Manufactured off-site and quickly assembled on-site. This was proof that Advocate Aurora Health could get the quality they were looking for in the time that they needed it.

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Having worked together before, DIRTT, Boldt, and HGA architects knew how to approach the process. They understood that using industrialized construction offered efficiency and control that couldn’t be achieved otherwise. It also required a different way of looking at the design workflow. They took time early in the project to get clear on all the details. Details that on a conventional construction project don’t come in to play until later in the process. This insured the resulting space was built with the quality, fit, and finish a hospital like this needs.

More importantly DIRTT, Boldt, and HGA were able build on lessons learned from the last project to increase efficiency. This time, module connectivity was simplified. This made on-site installation easier without any loss of quality. In addition, all three parties collaborated on engineering a new detail designed to help improve the transition from walls to ceilings. Used throughout the project, this solution solved something different for each party. For HGA it improved infection control performance. For Boldt it allowed for both greater tolerance and a high-quality precision fit. And for DIRTT it offered increased ease of assembly.

In another step forward, the team at Boldt was able to install the DIRTT systems themselves. And during construction, the site inspector was able to visit the Boldt manufacturing facility, further streamlining the process. In the end, it took just five weeks to produce the observation rooms and four days to set the units on-site. Doing in a few months what sometimes takes a few years allowed the team at Advocate Aurora Health to offer more access to their patients and better serve their community.

Process restructuring between Boldt and DIRTT is what made this project successful. Executing on lessons learned helped the team integrate our design-manufacturing-construction processes and BIM technologies to meet a very aggressive schedule.

Jenny Han

Director of Design Integration, Boldt



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