In this impoverished village, only one in four residents finish primary school, and the first doctor arrived to the area just over 10 years ago. The journey to advance the level of healthcare in the Burera District began in 2011 with the opening of Butaro Hospital, a 150-bed hospital that features an emergency department, a full surgery ward with two operating rooms and a neonatal intensive care unit.
Partners in Health, a Boston-based healthcare nonprofit, partnered with the Government of Rwanda to make Butaro Hospital a reality. In 2015, Partners in Health launched a new initiative, the University of Global Health Equity (UGHE), to further their vision of training the next generation of African and international leaders in the field of healthcare. UGHE is a medical school with advanced simulation and teaching spaces, classrooms, labs, administration offices, residential accommodation and dining facilities that can accommodate up to 200 students, faculty and staff.
Our Skanska Integrated Solutions (SIS) team became involved with the university while it was still under construction. During that time, we sent the Rwandan UGHE team dual-compatible iPads with cell connections and SIM cards to help them better connect with their Boston counterparts. When UGHE opened their 250-acre campus in January 2019, their priority was to make sure the facility equipment was well-maintained because specialized service contractors and maintenance parts are located so far away. UGHE needed a way to easily monitor the equipment’s performance—this would require a sophisticated facilities maintenance system.
During the summer of 2019, we met with two senior leaders of the university to vet out different technology solutions that could solve their unique workflow challenges. After two weeks of meetings with some of our clients to learn how they are running their facilities, and a day-long working session with two UGHE senior leaders, they decided on a customizable version of Autodesk® BIM 360® Ops (BIM 360 Ops). In April 2020, the university decided to continue our working relationship and officially hire our team to help them implement this software virtually.
After talking with Autodesk, who offered to donate their licenses for free, we started the virtual facilitation process. Trying to operate a project that was 5,000 miles away while facing a six-hour time difference and spotty cell service was no easy feat—team formation and getting everyone on the same page was critical.
Working remotely with UGHE’s facilities maintenance team, our Emerging Tech team uploaded information to support the computerized maintenance management system and provided a variety of consulting services, including:
- Sharing best practices for structuring construction data to be brought into BIM 360 Ops
- Training the UGHE facilities team on the use of this new software
- Customizing a user guide for the UGHE facilities team to reference in building operations
- Acting as a liaison between Autodesk and UGHE, including answering any technical questions about the platform
This software will help hospital and building operations staff stay informed of equipment performance and proactively maintain critical assets. Using BIM 360 Ops, university staff and students will be able to submit standardized maintenance requests from their mobile devices when a repair is needed, and the UGHE building operations team will be immediately notified. This software will also allow staff and technicians to view dashboards of actionable tasks and schedule reoccurring maintenance, which will help UGHE achieve a robust preventative maintenance program.
Today, UGHE’s onsite and remote building operations teams use BIM 360 Ops to share maintenance information across the 350,000 square-foot campus virtually, in real-time. This allows for timely attention to reported maintenance issues, quicker work order resolution and improved responsiveness to university staff.
The implementation of this software at UGHE couldn’t have been possible without the commitment and ingenuity of our team, Autodesk and UGHE. It took everyone working together, driven by one common goal, to accomplish this complex task efficiently in the middle of a pandemic. To me, this project and all involved truly represent Skanska’s Be Better – Together value and what building for a better society truly means.