In the same way that it pioneered the Design-Build method of project delivery decades ago, Haskell is distinguishing itself as an early adopter, investor and leader in the development of the Design Manufacture Construct delivery method.
In May 2019, Haskell became a financial stakeholder in BLOX, a Bessemer, Alabama-based company that designs and manufactures prefabricated building components for medical facilities.
It also invested human capital in the deal, assigning Haskell personnel to the new delivery method and detailing them to assimilate with the new strategic partner.
One of the first assigned and most deeply committed is Project Superintendent Neal Wiseman.
Wiseman already had a long and diverse construction career when he joined Haskell. His first decade was spent with the construction division of U.S. Sugar, in Clewiston, Florida, near his hometown of Belle Glade.
He moved to Jacksonville in the mid- 1990s so that his young son Tucker, who had had cochlear implants, could attend the Clarke School for Hearing and Speech. Once there, Neal Wiseman became indoctrinated in civil construction with companies that built State Road 9A and the I-95/I-295 interchange.
In 2003, he started his own concrete construction company, growing to 74 employees and $7 million in revenue before the Great Recession forced him out of business in 2009. After the prolonged slowdown hampered the launch of another business venture, he answered the call from an Orlando company to provide a crew of 10 and perform a subcontracted job for Haskell on a wastewater treatment project in suburban Atlanta.
“The Haskell team got to know me, got to see me every day, got to see what I could do,” Wiseman said.
Knowing his capabilities led Haskell to hire him then, and, in August 2018, led his supervisors to approach him about immersing himself in the BLOX operation and joining what would become a new Design Manufacture Construct division.
Haskell announced in May 2019 that it had made a strategic investment in BLOX, which coined the DMC name and began using an assembly-line process to manufacture 15x15x60-foot,ready-to-place building modules, called Ubers. BLOX identified healthcare construction as a sweet spot because of the repeatable nature of its facilities and its demand for speed to market.
Ubers configured for the entire range of necessary hospital components – X-ray, CT, patient rooms, central-energy plant, trauma rooms, labs, cafeterias — are manufactured at the BLOX factory and shipped to job sites.
“We still have to do the conventional civil construction, such as site work and foundations, changes we make for individual characteristics for that community,” said Ryan Hollister, director of Haskell’s M-Core (Manufacturing Core). “But you can be building your clinic in a manufacturing line while you’re doing your site work and foundations, then shipping your clinic to your site, setting it in place and being done months earlier. You’re basically installing a clinic rather than constructing it.”
Haskell’s first DMC project was the freestanding Trailwinds Village ER in Wildwood, Florida, where, in a cooperative effort, Wiseman oversaw a team of BLOX constructors and imparted Haskell jobsite practices.
The facility encompasses 11,630 square feet, features 11 emergency room beds, employs 30 full-time health professionals and is expected to serve more than 11,500 patients a year. Amazingly, it broke ground in September 2019 and opened to the public less than five months later.
“It went very well. The client was very, very happy,” Project Manager Rick Maron said. “We brought a lot of Haskell practices and procedures that we’ve worked for 50 years to perfect – things like safety on the job site, daily reporting – and helped (BLOX) perfect the construction side of things.”
Wiseman already is off to his next freestanding ER project, this one in Fruitville, Florida, where the work arrangement will be more traditional: Haskell will act as the general contractor on behalf of BLOX.
On this and upcoming jobs, Wiseman will employ some subcontractors but will use predominantly teams of Haskell’s Permanent Craft Employees, who are able to self-perform work across multiple construction disciplines, producing the greatest possible cost savings and speed to market.
It’s a perfect fit for the Design Manufacture Construct method – and a perfect fit for the veteran superintendent.
“What they build at the plant, it’s impressive,” he said. “I’m impressed with the idea. I’m impressed with the speed. Anything for me that gives me a challenge or keeps me on my toes, I’m good with.”