Healthcare Construction: Nuanced and Unique Challenges

Healthcare projects are nuanced and that means preconstruction for these building projects has a host of unique challenges. Being able to build an estimate from a space program while providing a level of detail to back up your numbers early is key to a successful healthcare project. It is also key to keep trust high with a healthcare project owner.

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IPD and Space Program in Healthcare Preconstruction

New healthcare construction projects are embracing integrated project delivery (IPD). More traditional project delivery methods (design-build, for example) have notoriously been littered with change orders. Change orders cause the cost to go up as well as the schedule to expand. No healthcare administrator wants to hear those happening.

Plus, with the project being driven by the space program it is imperative that the design and building teams are collaborative and cohesive from the start. If revenue numbers are estimated off the number of operating rooms and each operating room needs a specific number of exam rooms, then you don’t want to cut areas that are going to generate revenue for the facility. Creativity and innovation are required to deliver a healthcare project that meets the demands of the project owner as well as becomes available to the community on schedule.

Healthcare preconstruction professionals can benefit from:

  • Comparison tool
  • Alternates
  • Continuous estimating
  • Speed

Comparison Tool

A comparison tool allows you to compare your projects by WBS properties, cost per unit, and/or total costs. In a healthcare construction project, this insight is invaluable for double-checking a gut feeling of where your new project should be based on past projects. Having that kind of data analytics at your fingertips also reassures the project owner of their costs.


Exploring alternates on a healthcare project gives you confidence in decisions being made during preconstruction. You can assure your project owner that you have looked at the best options for their project and you have a record of what was explored leading up to the final decision.

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Continuous Estimating

Design iterations don’t stop on healthcare projects. And that means the estimating doesn’t stop, either. Being able to continuously estimate, having an audit trail, and working in a platform that analyzes data as the estimator receives updated files is ideal.


Having a comparison tool, using alternates, and continuously estimating all lead to speed. Decisions on healthcare projects are quick because time impacts costs. Schedules on these projects are sensitive because of equipment delivery, material cost fluctuations, and the community needs the healthcare resource sooner rather than later. And if the project is a renovation, then you are dealing with an active business operating in a construction zone.

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