Facility Planning: Who Do We Hire?

Facility Planning: Who Do We Hire?

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This is a follow-up article to “Low Bid or Best Value, Methods to Use for Building Delivery.”

Should a healthcare provider desire to grow their practice by enlarging their facility, he needs to determine what professionals he needs to hire. There are several professionals which should be given consideration.

For the purpose of this article, four (4) types will be explained and explored.

Developer

This company or individual typically has several years of experience developing real estate for his company or other clients that required his services. A developer can assess the feasibility of demand for a new facility and generate a financial pro forma for the new facility. He can aid in locating the property and handling any zoning issues which may be tied to the property. The developer has the knowledge and experience to maximize the efficiency of the property. The civil and architectural design is controlled by the developer using his experience in providing the most efficient design. He will also have the knowledge to align the project with the construction team who best fits the scope and requirements of the new facility. During the construction process, his team of experts monitor this process to ensure the quality, cost and schedule requirements of the owner are achieved. He can also provide experts that can help lease the facility, if that is a requirement. The developer can also aid the health professional with financing. In summary, the developer typically provides a “turn key” solution for delivering a new healthcare facility with the least amount of coordination from the healthcare professional.

Construction Manager

This company or individual acts in the interest of the owner as to working with county or city officials in obtaining the required building approvals. He is an expert in the field of construction and design. He has the knowledge to aid the owner in selecting the design professionals, and he knows the building community to aid the owner in the proper selection of the general contractor. The construction manager will control the design and construction process with the best interest of the owner. Where the typical construction manager may have some limitations in services is the ability of assessing the financial rise, aid in providing funding and loans, and helping in the leas- ing or resale of the facility. More time of involvement from the healthcare professional may be required than working with a developer.

Architectural Consultant

Again for this method to be an option, the healthcare professional must have control of the property. The owner should interview several architects and make his selection based on the architect’s experience and the owner’s ability to communicate with the design professional. It is very important that the healthcare professional feels he can communicate efficiently with his architect as the architect becomes the owner’s agent representing the owner’s requirements on the building plans and specifications. Many architectural firms have qualified individuals on staff who have experience in construction means and methods, providing the owner with construction administration and inspections. The architect would provide the necessary construction documents and administer the construction process. He can also help with the contractor selection.

Design-build Contractor

If the healthcare professional has control or owns the property and has a representative on staff that has solid experience in the construction process, then hiring a design-build contractor may be a consideration. A design-build contractor will bring the experience to design and build a facility within the budget developed by the healthcare professional. Typically in the design-build process, the budget for construction becomes the most important component. The healthcare professional will have to communicate his requirements to the design-build contractor; provide his own funding; become involved in representing the interest of the ownership with county or city officials; ensure the construction quality, cost and schedule are maintained to his requirements; and support any leasing activ- ity which may be required. Out of the four methods presented in this article, this method will require the most time from the healthcare professional.

In summary, the healthcare professional needs to determine which professional he needs to hire based on his own construction experiences and the time he can dedicate to the process. Should a healthcare professional be limited on time because of his professional commitments, he may be best served by hiring a developer; and, of course, for the healthcare individual who prefers being very involved, one of the other options may work best. It’s all up to the healthcare professional’s comfort with the process. Each option should be explored before one method is selected over another.

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