If there’s one project that can showcase to what extent integrated project delivery (IPD) can be used on a healthcare construction site, it’s the massive expansion Palomar Pomerado Health is undergoing in Southern California.

On hand to discuss the Palomar Medical Center West project, specifically, at the HEALTHCARE DESIGN.11 Conference were Wendy Cohen, director, facilities construction, Palomar Pomerado Health; Frances Moore, AIA, LEED AP, associate principal, CO Architects; and Brian Gracz, ASCE, LEED AP, project executive, DPR Construction.

In the session titled “The Real World of IPD at Palomar Medical Center West” held on November 16, 2011, the group explored how IPD was used to better streamline communication and results between all parties.

For those unfamiliar with the Palomar project (and those are probably few and far between), the health system set out in 2004 on an expansion—the answer to both its aging facilities and growing population. The goal, Cohen said, was to maintain market growth and look at new opportunities. The project is focused on providing the highest quality of patient care and is firmly guided by evidence-based design principles.

Cohen shared a few of the building blocks used when the team subsequently set out on its IPD journey:

  • Take responsibility—be part of the solution; there is no blame game.
  • Identify the “best person”—identify and capitalize on the skills of the best person for each job.
  • Be flexible—what works one day may not work the next; constantly assess.

The result of these building blocks often resulted in team members taking on nontraditional roles. For example, the project relied upon BIM to plan for the future and avoid being outdated by the time construction concluded. However, the team needed to determine the best person to manage the BIM process. In the end, Gracz said, it wasn’t DPR but rather the mechanical engineer who was best suited for that role—even if an untraditional approach.

By the same token, Cohen said CO Architects ended up being asked to coordinate all installations during construction and found itself overwhelmed by documents and technology vendors, for example. But, as the group discussed, another key to yielding a successful project outcome was doing what perhaps wasn’t best for individual organizations, per se. “Everyone understood it was about what was right for the project,” Cohen said.

Another great takeaway shared during the session was the creation of “SWAT teams” composed of key team members who gathered regularly on the project site itself to go over any issues that had come up as of late. Instead of discussing them over the phone or in a conference room somewhere, they literally “walked the issues” at the site. The result was the collection of information for what was causing the problem and determination of the right person to find a resolution.

For more on Palomar Pomerado's expansion project (Palomar Medical Center West is set to be completed in April 2012), please go here.