As the COVID-19 pandemic, quickly overwhelms the need for hospital beds and equipment to treat the sick, a modular home builder, Volumetric Building Companies (VBC), located in Philadelphia has put together a coalition of at least 20-off-site manufactures to build and deliver prefabricated modules that could provide at minimum 1500 patient beds per week. Ramping up could take as little as three weeks. Of course, pending an official order from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Vaughan Buckley, president of VBC, has also approached other Federal agencies, such as FEMA, HUD and the VA, with this high-volume production initiative to increase the availability of patient beds with Supplemental Medical Care Units, or SCUs. The concept is, however, more in line with the Army Corps’ mission to increase the nation’s capacity to fight the coronavirus and is among the options being evaluated. Unlike FEMA trailers, which cost about $65,000 to $ 70,000 each, the modules are expected to cost about $18,000 per patient room. The SCUs are designed for durability. When the pandemic passes, Buckley foresees these modules being stockpiled and eventually used by municipal housing authorities or private agencies to provide affordable housing for veterans, seniors, and homeless people. Modules can be stacked and draped with a facade or used as a low-cost solution by plugging in one or two units into a multifamily building.
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Modular Builders Mobilize to Fight Coronavirus and the Hospital Bed Shortage