Can a High-Performance Modular Operating Room be Installed in 4 hours?

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An interview with Kevin Clare, Vice President of Life Science Modular

Off-site construction is becoming one of the best ways to save time and money on a job site. As a result, healthcare and hospitals are embracing this approach in an effort to create more efficient, integrated healthy spaces that also meet demanding levels of environmental hygiene. In fact, off-site construction is revolutionizing the way operating rooms and hybrid operating spaces are built.

When it comes to hospital construction, no one is closer to trends and innovations than Kevin Clare. He has decades of experience in environmental engineering and is Vice President of Life Science Modular, a sister company to CESI. His current work with major healthcare systems is changing how hospitals design, build, and maintain surgical spaces.

MedStar Georgetown University Hospital

Currently, Clare is working with MedStar Georgetown University Hospital on a massive, multi-year build that will create 28 new operating suites and one new hybrid room. MedStar worked with Clare to include SLD Technology ceiling systems in each new surgery. While the project won’t be completed until the summer of 2022, the SLD systems will be installed in all 29 rooms in a matter of weeks.

Kevin Clare, VP of f Life Science Modular

“SLD products are a good choice for hospital and healthcare projects because they are very modular in nature,” explains Clare. “It’s a truly integrated system. The ductwork requires one location to connect to the systems, so you don’t have miles of duct connector to multiple diffusers. Our system comes complete with lighting, so no additional lights are needed on the perimeter of the room. And this system also provides connections for the medical boom equipment, so they don’t have to put individual supports in for every boom. It’s a sleek solution.”­­

“There are so many peripheral items in an operation room that we cover with our systems,” he adds, “so that owners don’t have to go out and try to coordinate with multiple contractors. We take care of everything.”

Integrated Approach for Operating Rooms Saves Time and Money

SLD Technology’s integrated approach supplies a range of benefits to hospital administrators and maintenance teams. It requires just one location for ductwork instead of demanding multiple diffuser connectors with flexible ductwork.  The elaborate system contains just two lighting circuits – an interior circuit and a perimeter circuit. It utilizes a very simple wiring system that can be controlled through a 0-10 volt or an on/off switch. An integrated trim system means the SLD Technology equipment can connect directly to a drywall ceiling.

“The SLD approach eliminates a lot of trade work,” says Clare. “Modular units speed up the building process. With SLD, it takes about half a day to install per room. About 4 hours.  That means you won’t have tradesmen scattered around the operating room for two or three weeks.”

Rapid builds using modular operating room features and technology can quickly save hospitals hundreds of thousands of dollars. With standard billable rates at about $100,000 per day for the average surgery, delays cost big money. By shaving off days, even weeks, it’s easy how modular solutions can quickly result in significant savings. Faster turnarounds also mean greater availability and better care for more patients.

Combining SLD and Operamed Systems

Clare is also helping Medstar Health with two hybrid rooms in another DC-area hospital. This became a very special project because the owners requested Life Science Modular to be the sole source. “We’re supplying SLD Technology ceilings and Indigo Clean lights that disinfect the room,” Clare explains. “And Life Science Modular is also providing Operamed ceiling systems that go around the perimeter of the rooms. It’s a panelized system that allows Medstar Health to maintain hermetically sealed ceilings while still having easy access to space above the ceiling for maintenance without the need to provide access doors.”

“That’s a massive benefit,” Clare notes, “because if there’s an easy way to access all of the piping and electrical in the surgery’s ceiling after the construction is complete, there’s no need to cut drywall and leave a mess in the room when repairs or updates are needed. It’s a huge advantage and a timesaver.” Clare also says, “If repairs need to be done in the ceiling, workers can just take the panels down, do the work, and then put the panels back up. You save a ton of time by not having to do cutting and patching.”

These kinds of hermetically sealed ceilings are vital in operating suites. The air leakage that occurs with standard t-bar ceilings allows dirt and debris into the operating rooms, creating an unacceptable risk of surgical infection.

Impressively Fast Build Times

“The speed with which these projects can happen is impressive,” Clare emphasizes. “And the sooner the surgery is completed, the sooner administrators can start billing. And more operating space is good for hospitals and patients.”

Clare’s company focuses on environmental and airflow solutions for healthcare and hospitals. He often works directly with hospitals but notes that he is now collaborating with more and more construction managers to help secure new projects. “These solutions make sense for contractors and administrators,” he adds. “More efficient operating rooms are a win-win for everyone.”

Want to Know More?

Want to know more about modular operating room solutions? Contact Kevin Clare at for more information.