Imagine this – it’s been months of architectural and engineering preparation for your healthcare facility’s construction project. You stop to take a breath and it feels like you’re finally at a point to kick off construction. It’s no secret there are some complexities to watch out for – so you’re prepared for anything. Today’s healthcare construction market is no exception. I spoke with commercial construction estimator, Kevin White of JH Greene about his take on the topic and what he had to say may surprise you.
Why is a Top-Quality Facility No Longer Just an Option?
- The Market’s Demand
Competition is fierce among healthcare players and any way to gain an advantage through having an impressive facility opens doors to more patients selecting the location for care and more employees inclined to work there. Once it’s known that one healthcare organization is innovating their facility, competitors react in a ripple effect to the point where a building with the best care may not seem credible any longer due to the hotel-like appearance of many market-leading competition.
- Requirement of Quality
With patient needs demanding generators, special equipment, and emergency back-ups, new and smoothly-functioning buildings are a must for healthy patients and a healthy business. Smart uses of energy from efficient systems can save costs and can have a huge impact on operational performance. An environment where top-quality care can be delivered doesn’t come cheap, but eventually there is more revenue potential from best-in-class building components. Walter Jones of Buildings.com brings up the valid point that “the attributes of a facility that can impact patient through-put and staff efficiency are:
• The design/layout of the rooms.
• The comfort of the environment for staff and patients.
• The ability of the infrastructure to support the technology used.
When significant changes to these facility attributes are required to augment efficiency, they’re usually accomplished through construction.”
- Technological Considerations
Ever-changing technology available at patient and care-giver fingertips presents a constant need for equipment advancement to remain competitive. In the setting of a healthcare facility, oftentimes the only way to tackle these innovations in care is through renovating or expanding an existing building.
One new technology that has impressed our team in its applications to the healthcare world is known as MedSpace. This system consists of architectural walls with vacuum-based plumbing systems internally that provide unique advantages in cost, flexibility, and acoustical privacy. Within these movable walls, plumbing functions occur above the slab and all waste lines go vertically to collection points. The sewage lines in ceiling are where materials exit the building. With reconfiguration of these moving walls possible in hours, weeks to months are saved in construction schedules. The introduction of technologies such as this offer tremendous project outcomes that are critical to monitor.
- Population Growth
Point blank: people are living longer. This, however, doesn’t always equate to a longer, more healthful life—a lot of the increased time involves time with an increased dependence on healthcare services. With the growing number of people needing this care, there isn’t much reduction in sight. The conversation really surrounds keeping up with the need for more facilities to administer these services.
Building owners and property managers can view construction on their healthcare facility as more of a necessary evil, but there are a ton of benefits to keeping up with the Jones’ in this playing field. When these types of projects can be managed entirely by a construction manager, there are turn-key solutions that cause little stress and risk. When you have the unique needs and quality requirement characterized by the healthcare sector, there is no room to not engage a healthcare construction expert.
Sources referenced: http://www.buildings.com/article-details/articleid/6470/title/healthcare-construction-drivers-challenges-and-solutions.aspx