Project Management

4 Ways to Reduce Costs in Healthcare Design Projects

Andrea Rufe, Andy Snyder and Molly Wolf

Healthcare systems face a perfect storm of financial uncertainty due to rising operating costs coupled with high demand for care. While much of this cost escalation is due to reimbursement and labor issues, design can help minimize financial risk when it comes to the construction of healthcare facilities. Her, are four strategies to consider as the sector embarks on an estimated $45 billion in construction projects in 2023.

1. Master Plans: From One and Done to Real Time

Master plans are no longer a once-in-a-generation exercise. Instead, they can evolve in real time based on changing needs and growth goals, helping a client understand how best to invest capital. For example, our team worked with the University of Washington Medical Center (UWMC) to embrace an ambiguous future by developing multiple master plan and “strategy-agnostic” inpatient scenarios to help the hospital reach its 20-year growth goals. One approach involved developing all required square footage in one large project with flexible shell space to be infilled over time, an approach which required more up-front capital but decreased the total investment over the lifetime of the master plan. Another explored building a series of smaller projects over the 20-year period, which may cost more in the long-term but allows for the university to adapt each project to the program need and available capital at …

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