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A Holistic Framework for Healthcare Facilities

Updated: May 10

As construction costs escalate and climate policies drive sustainability mandates, healthcare facilities increasingly rely on construction management companies to optimize projects, curb expenses, and prioritize efficiency. These firms provide specialized expertise to positively impact financial and environmental performance - especially when utilizing a holistic framework for project management. By taking a comprehensive, lifecycle view aligned with low impact practices, the holistic approach allows healthcare facilities to realize benefits in several crucial areas:

Integrated Project Delivery

A holistic approach takes an integrated project delivery perspective, bringing together all stakeholders - the owner (hospital), architects, engineers, contractors, and other stakeholders - from the very beginning. This collaborative approach ensures that project goals, timelines, budgets, and sustainability targets are aligned across the entire team right from the start. By getting everyone on the same page early, potential issues can be proactively identified and addressed before they become costly problems.

A prime example highlighting the benefits of an integrated project delivery (IPD) approach is Cone Health's campus expansion in Greensboro, NC. When Cone Health sought to relocate their Women's Hospital to the main campus, they implemented a full IPD model for the project. This cohesive delivery approach paid dividends - the project finished an impressive four months ahead of schedule while still remaining within its construction budget. Perhaps more significantly, the shared risk/reward dynamic of IPD created a win-win outcome where all stakeholders benefited from the collective success.

Whole Building Life Cycle Analysis

A holistic viewpoint extends beyond just the construction phase to consider the entire life cycle of the building. This comprehensive analysis evaluates long-term operational costs, maintenance requirements, energy usage, and environmental impacts. By taking this whole building approach, we can guide hospitals in making upfront decisions that optimize functionality, reduce lifetime costs, enhance sustainability, and ensure the facility meets their needs for decades to come.

Systems-Thinking Perspective Healthcare facilities are highly complex, with intricate systems for operations, logistics, utilities, and patient care that must work seamlessly together. A holistic mindset allows us to view the hospital project as an interconnected system rather than separate components. This systems-thinking perspective helps anticipate system integration challenges, workflows, and potential points of failure - ultimately leading to a more cohesive, efficient, and resilient healthcare facility.

Lean Construction Principles

A hallmark of the holistic approach is likely an emphasis on lean construction principles that maximize value and eliminate wasteful activities across all project phases. This includes pull planning, co-location of teams, and continuous improvement processes as well as instituting stringent energy management practices, reducing rework that consumes extra resources, and minimizing embodied energy in construction materials through careful procurement.

Applying these lean philosophies results in streamlined project delivery, reduced rework, optimized resource utilization, and lower overall costs for the hospital.

In essence, as a construction management firm with a comprehensive, holistic viewpoint that instills energy-efficient thinking from planning through execution, The Builder Project can act as a long-term partner for hospitals - delivering facilities that are sustainable, efficient, cost-effective, and built around their specialized care delivery needs now and well into the future.

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