We all recognize how complex the healthcare industry has become. New technologies continue to advance the cause of medicine and thereby impact the design and construction of new facilities built to house these new centers for healing. Additionally, the professional service contracts that both the design community and the construction industry work with have become just as complex. Design-Build contracts are becoming more prevalent and with the advent of Integrated Project Delivery, a new and improved form of project delivery, the industry will again adapt to a new standard. The United States Army Corp of Engineers is also changing with the times and is looking to Early Contractor Involvement (ECI) as a preferred way of project delivery.

For the healthcare owner, having a project team fully integrated, regardless of the form of contract, is paramount for success. So what is a fully integrated team and what does that really mean? In my opinion, it requires the owner, design team, and construction manager working in full concert immediately from the beginning of a project. Together, this integrated team can tackle the complex healthcare projects that are being designed and constructed across the country today. Programs with accurate budgets and schedules are developed from the beginning of the project (as opposed to somewhere in the middle of design development), benchmarking of other facilities can take place, and best practices can be established that will formulate the overall building program.

The beauty of this arrangement is that it allows for the owners to best realize their optimum program for the correct budget and schedule, the design professional only has to design the building once, and the construction professional is focused building it right the first time. Great concept!