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The team approach to healthcare projects


Selecting design and construction team members and determining the methodology for how they will interact during healthcare construction projects can be a daunting process. The current design and construction trend in the healthcare industry is to accelerate the project schedule to minimize disruption in services on the existing campus. This is often accomplished by the construction delivery method of construction manager at risk (CMAR). This method involves a design phase selection of a construction manager who works with the design team to provide a guaranteed maximum price from partially complete design documents. Typically, the success of this construction delivery process is measured by the ability of the project team members, including design and construction, to work together.

The main entrance lobby at Salem Hospital’s new Patient Care Tower. Source: Terry Poe and Smith Seckman Reid

Team selection

Salem Hospital Regional Health Services is one of Oregon’s largest acute care hospitals and part of the Salem Health System. The 450-bed, 1.3 million-sq-ft facility serves Salem and the surrounding Willamette Valley. In 2004, the hospital was ready to begin the first of a phased construction process to replace its older facilities and upgrade its utility infrastructure. The master planning process resulted in the need for new diagnostic and treatment facilities, a replacement patient bed facility, and a new centralized energy plant (CEP). Because the new healthcare facility was to be constructed in the middle of a healthcare campus with minimal disruptions to existing patient access, the selection of design and construction team members was critical to the project’s success.

Salem Hospital chose the CMAR project delivery method and decided to select the design and construction members as a team. The goal of this selection process was to pick a group of design and construction firms that had expertise in the healthcare industry and a history of working together. A successful working relationship would allow Salem Hospital to navigate through a complex construction project and meet its schedule and budget goals. The team was chosen because of their extensive expertise in the healthcare construction industry and their history of working together on similar successful projects. See Figure 1 for the team organization chart of the Salem Hospital design and construction team.

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