When you think of “medical breakthroughs”, you normally think of medicine, not construction.
But in California, it is M3 Components' (M3C) offsite manufacturing and productization methods that are revolutionizing the way healthcare projects are planned and delivered.
Across the state, this innovative operation is turning heads and producing impressive results.
On two recent projects the team has experienced noteworthy schedule improvements. Panels were installed with integrated utilities in just 10 minutes per panel for Placerville, while panels for another project produced 73% savings off the duration allocated on the schedule.
Behind all this success is a company with 50 years of construction experience, an extensive R&D programme exploring industrialized construction in healthcare, and a team culture committed to lean construction principles.
Since 1976, Mark III Construction, parent company to M3C, has grown from a small family-owned electrical contractor into a full-service MEP construction, service, and components company.
By pivoting to focus on MEP sub trades in 2007, the business has gone from strength to strength. But it was its rapid growth over the last 10 years that presented the opportunity to restructure the business into three separate divisions.
"Our new structure positions us to continue to enhance our manufacturing capabilities for our components company while simultaneously expanding prefabrication for our MEP business," says M3 President Dan Carlton.
“I grew up in this industry and have worked my entire career in construction. Above all else, my ultimate goal is to leave the industry in a better state than when I first entered it two decades ago. Achieving this requires a personal and companywide commitment to embrace change and continuous improvement.
Of the three divisions, M3 Components specializes in offsite construction for healthcare facilities.
Healthcare is a growth sector but meeting the demand for more modern facilities has recently been restricted by a shrinking labor pool and rising costs within the construction industry. Hospitals, medical office buildings, and healthcare facilities are extremely labor-intensive due to the high volume of MEP systems per square foot.
To answer this challenge M3C has embraced a “build more with less” philosophy in addition to leaning into technology to combat the labor shortage.
For six years, M3 ran a series of R&D projects, called Project Mountain, to demonstrate “that standardization and modular building could save customers in the medical industry 16-21 percent on their MEP (mechanical, electrical, plumbing) wall framing costs and decrease the construction schedule by 20 percent.”
M3 Components was a natural evolution from this innovation incubator, and retains many key project members including now Director of Preconstruction, Makayla Oei and Director of Operations, Kent Ridgley.
M3C operates out of a 24,000 square foot facility in Sacramento, CA, that serves as a hub for multi-trade manufacturing with stud framing, HVAC, mechanical piping, plumbing, and electrical trades all under one roof. At the very heart of the operation is the light-gauge steel framing line which incorporates their trusted Howick FRAMATM 7600 light steel roll-forming machine.
By having all the trades together and collaborating in a controlled environment, and using standardized components that are designed to integrate seamlessly together, massive efficiencies are achieved.
M3C’s products begin with a 3D model that includes all MEP services. This model is then turned into detailed spool sheets which are fed into automated equipment, like the Howick machine.
The panels and pods are assembled in stages and verified through a rigorous QM process before a final inspection by M3C’s QC Officer on completion.
Following final approval, components are loaded for transport. Panels are flat or vertically packed, and pods are enclosed with a heavyweight waterproof shrink-wrap system to protect them from the elements.
Upon delivery, certified installers anchor the products and final MEP connections are made.
From Santa Cruz to the Sacramento Valley, M3C is consistently delivering on its mission to lead the evolution of construction and building more with less - less cost, less time, less accidents, less waste and less risk.
In our view, the M3C team is well on its way to achieving their ultimate goal of changing the construction sector for the better.
November 2023 #Features