Best Practices for Health Care Renovation and Construction

Should you build a new health care facility? Or should you renovate a current facility? That’s the billion dollar question.

You have to take into account the needs of the facility and the available options. If there’s not much physical space for expansion or if modernizing the facility isn’t cost-effective, it makes sense to start from scratch with a new facility.

But if a health care campus has a great existing location, is in good condition and has the space available to continue to grow, there’s no reason to pick up and start over. In these cases, the argument should be made for renovating.

Making Renovations Work

Completing a renovation or building addition within an occupied structure can pose a number of challenges. It is important to complete the project in an efficient manner in order to remain on schedule and on budget.

However, having to work around the daily routines of other workers while minimizing disruption to their daily operations can be difficult. When choosing a commercial construction company to complete this type of project, it is absolutely imperative to select a contractor that is experienced in completing projects in occupied structures.

Start at the Beginning: The Importance of Pre-Project Site Inspections

Before a contractor can create a plan of attack for this type of project, a site inspection is an absolute necessity. The team must visit the site and complete a preliminary investigation of the current conditions.

Part of this process involves locating existing utilities and structural elements to ensure that everything is sited as designated on the plans. This is also where potential hazards are identified, such as the presence of asbestos, lead paint or other materials that could place workers or occupants in danger.

Site inspections do require an investment of time and effort up front, but they are crucial in identifying and addressing issues that can drastically slow a project’s timeline down the road.

If a health care campus has a great existing location, is in good condition and has the space available to continue to grow, there's no reason to pick up and start over. In these cases, the argument should be made for renovating.

Schedule Utility Shutdowns

In order for most construction and renovation projects to move forward, an interruption in power and other utility services is required. Scheduling those shutdowns is part of the planning stage of a project, and care must be taken to ensure that utilities are stopped and started on the proper dates.

In occupied buildings, it is even more important to schedule shutdowns correctly. In many cases, power, water or other utilities can be shut down in the area of the building that is being renovated while the rest of the structure can continue to run as usual.

All interruptions in utilities should be communicated with the facilities’ staff and engineering group so that it is clearly understood what services will be disrupted, what equipment will be “down,” and how long the disruption will last.

Handling Closeout Documentation

Once the dust has settled and the project is nearing completion, there is still quite a bit of work to be done behind the scenes. In order to close out a renovation or construction job, there are a number of hoops that must be jumped through. Each job has a unique blend of needs when it comes to receiving a Certificate of Occupancy, depending on the geographical area, type and scope of work that was done and matters unique to that particular project.

Common issues that must be addressed before the job is complete include documentation of fire suppression systems, inspections of the electrical system, water testing and structural inspections. Handling all of these individual needs is an essential step in taking a project from conception to completion.

Choosing a commercial construction company to complete a health care project is one of the most important steps in achieving the desired results. This is especially true when a project is taking place in a building that will be occupied during the construction process.

At Modern Construction Corporation, our team has extensive experience working within a wide range of settings, including currently occupied structures. Feel free to come by or call to discuss the scope of your project, or to learn more about our company and how we run our construction projects.