Italy wants to imitate Wuhan and build a hospital in just six days

Italy wants to imitate Wuhan and build a hospital in just six days

Photo: Reuters.

The advance of coronavirus in Spain it is causing an exceptional situation never before known by other epidemics or pandemics. The speed and virulence with which the Covid-19 spreads threatens to collapse all the health systems through which it passes, but feats more typical of science fiction have been seen that have given results. Coronavirus, last minute, live: First working day in alarm state.

Two months ago, at the epicenter of today’s pandemic, Wuhan, the Chinese government ordered the construction of a hospital of emergency. The forecasts of the work were to have it finished in just over a week and from Spain it was observed with amazement, and also amazement, the dedication and determination with which the Chinese workers began, stone by stone, to raise a solution to the barrage of cases they were suffering then.

The coronavirus made tourism with people who travel all over the planet and had a special interest in Italy. There, the pandemic took the authorities by surprise, it was not possible to measure the magnitude of the tragedy and the pathogen made its way through the northern part of the country. Today it is the most infected country in Europe (and the second in the world) and health needs are pressing. The Italian situation, according to the country, leads health workers to decide who will be treated, because resources are scarce.

Last Thursday, the Italian government copied Wuhan’s idea and plans to build a hospital. As in jokes, if the Chinese did it in little more than a week, Italy calculates that it will be able to lift it in six days. But it is possible? Spanish construction companies say yes and, in addition, they give the keys in case Madrid or any other area that has exceeded the infected threshold wants to launch into this adventure. The Italian objective is for this center to host 500 intensive unit posts.

The secret, they say, is in modular construction, that is, erecting a building thanks to prefabricated modules, transported and assembled by cranes. “In addition to speed, safety is one of the advantages of modular construction, compared to conventional construction, since the different precast elements are perfectly designed for assembly. Another advantage of this type of construction is the productivity, which allows constructions to be carried out in a very short time that would otherwise require much more, “Sarens explains from the company.

This company is not new to this type of lightning construction. In New Caledonia, the company participated in the construction of nickel refining units made up of 15 modules, with weights ranging from 2,000 to 3,750 tons, and measures up to 27 meters long, 30 wide and 60 high. Another recent example of modular construction was done in the mining industry in Brazil. Sarens was responsible for the weighing, transportation and installation of more than 100 modules, the heaviest being 1,275 tons. “What happened in China is of extraordinary speed, but if they wanted to meet the deadlines, there was no better alternative to modular construction, both from an operational point of view and from a security point of view,” they say.

Having 500 ICU beds in six days would be one of the fastest solutions for the collapse that day by day, stalks or hits Spanish hospitals. Italy has already realized and has taken the first steps to carry out this work and the reality is that what happens in the transalpine country, sooner or later, ends up crossing the Mediterranean to the Spanish borders.

This construction model allows for the subsequent expansion of the hospital’s capacity: new modules can be added after construction

But in addition, this form of construction has other advantages that for a sanitary emergency such as the one experienced today is essential: the ability to gradually add space for beds without having to modify the primary structure. “If it were necessary to expand the hospital for proper operation, this could be done simply by adding the modules corresponding to the necessary use, whether for processes, offices, beds, etc. As for the sizes of the modules and their management, there are basically no limitation “, they explain from Sarens.

However, to be precise, the six days that the Italian government and technicians are talking about refers only to the pure construction phase, that is, to the lifting of the hospital. “After an engineering phase, which is usually more extensive than that of a traditional construction project, civil works begin with earthmoving. This phase cannot be modularized, and to ensure that the process is the fastest possible, the only solution is to increase the capacity of extraction and transport of material. Everyone remembers this construction phase in the Wuhan clinic with these images showing dozens of excavators and dump trucks. The great advantage of modular construction in this The sequence is that the modules can be built at the same time that the site is being prepared, “explains the sales director of this company, Dimitri Laurent.

To embark on a project such as the construction of a hospital, it is necessary to be clear about what the needs are. A field hospital, although more modest in space, is a faster and much cheaper formula. From this company they recognize that if a work like that of Wuhan and the one proposed by Italy is proposed, it must be clear that it is not a provisional work. “Modular construction is not for temporary works. The quality of a modular construction compared to traditional construction is often even higher quality,” says Laurent.


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