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Phased Building Projects: making them work in rural hospital environments

Choices

Because of CAH economics and culture, a phased facility improvement project can provide an excellent solution for a hospital’s needs. At the beginning of the process, rural health care leaders are faced with initial decisions: which professionals are needed to deliver the project required? A skilled architect will help hospital leadership hire the proper team to do the right project for a community. The right design professional will demonstrate three key skills:

  1. Understanding of the community’s economics and culture
  2. Expertise and experience in phased critical access health care project management
  3. Excellent communication skills

The right architect will help you begin your project by first seeking to understand, then to be understood, as Stephen Covey phrases it. Communication is at the heart of the architectural process, and it begins with listening. Your architect will need to learn about the departmental organization and physical systems of your facility. To help you make decisions about how to phase your project, your architect may ask these questions:

  • Is there a time of year when it’s easier to get by without a given service or physical environment? For example, heating or cooling needs are more flexible in Minnesota’s spring and fall, and less flexible in the winter and summer seasons.
  • Based on typical hospital usage, is there a time of year more favorable for construction?
  • How does the order or sequencing of spaces relate to your use of them? Can this information be used to determine the scheduling/sequencing of construction projects?
  • Can a specified department be closed or temporarily moved? For example, off-site laboratory services may need to be used temporarily.

The Grand - table talk