BIM and Prefabrication for Fast-Track Efficiency at WellStar Paulding Hospital

July 1, 2015

WellStar Paulding Hospital Exterior Photo

Over the years, building information modeling (BIM) technology and workflows have proven successful in the construction industry. When properly planned and paired with other tools such as Trimble GPS, they expand the boundaries of construction efficiency exponentially.

Like BIM, prefabrication has been gaining popularity among owners and builders. Prefabricated items, which are created in a controlled environment, are generally higher quality than site-built items, and with the aid of technology, it is now possible to prefabricate components of buildings that were previously impossible.

The benefits of prefabrication often parallel those of BIM: increased safety and efficiency, higher quality, and reduced labor and material costs.

Brasfield & Gorrie’s use of BIM and prefabrication on WellStar Paulding Hospital in Hiram, Georgia, shows that with the proper execution, these tools can be the key to fasttracking a project successfully— and with exceptional results.


WellStar Paulding Hospital is WellStar Health System’s first replacement hospital. It is also one of the first hospitals in the United States to be reliant on geothermal energy. The scope of this $94 million, 24-month project included 33 acres of site work, including a one-level, 120,000 sq ft precast parking deck, site utilities, modular block retaining walls, and concrete retaining walls; an eight-story, 295,700 sq ft hospital; and a seven-story atrium that ties the existing medical office building (MOB) to the new four-story, 82,220 sq ft MOB and new hospital.

WellStar Paulding Hospital BIM and actual photo comparison of the geothermal system The hospital contains 35,000 sq ft of radiant floor piping to heat and cool atrium and high ceiling areas. The geothermal (ground-source) heat pump (GSHP) system includes 209 400-foot-deep wells interspersed throughout the site. The total amount of piping—including the wells and the ground loop piping—is approximately 38 miles. The GSHP equipment includes six chiller/heat pump modules, each with capacity for 110 tons of cooling while producing 2,038 MBH of heating, which provides N+1 redundancy for both heating and cooling. The system has three sets of pumps: one for hot water, one for chilled water, and one for ground loop circulation. Each set of pumps is N+1 redundant. Approximately 400 tons of the 700-ton total building cooling load is handled by the GSHP system. The rest is handled by the air-cooled chillers. The GSHP system also handles the building heating and domestic hot water load of approximately 5,000 MBH.

Founded in 1964, Brasfield & Gorrie is one of the nation’s largest privately held construction firms, providing general contracting, design-build, and construction management services for a wide variety of markets. We are skilled in construction best practices, including virtual design and construction, integrated project delivery, and lean construction, but we are best known for our preconstruction and self-perform expertise and exceptional client service. Brasfield & Gorrie has 11 offices and approximately 2,600 employees. Our 2014 revenues were $2.2 billion. Engineering News-Record ranks Brasfield & Gorrie 27th among the nation’s “Top 400 Contractors” for 2015.

Brasfield & Gorrie was the general contractor for the WellStar Paulding Hospital replacement.

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