Five hospital construction best practices

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by Ricky Touchstone, Senior Project Manager, Frank L. Blum Construction Company

Renovating currently occupied hospitals and healthcare facilities can be challenging as construction activities may distrupt the optimal functioning of an organization. However, following the following five best practices can help hospitals and their contractors to minimize disruptions for patients, physicians and staff. Hospitals should be wary of contractors that do not follow these five practices.

1. Conduct a preliminary investigation/inspection of the site before construction or demolition begins. Prior to work beginning in any space, a preliminary investigation/inspection should be done by the construction team. The purpose of this investigation is to confirm the location of utilities and valves as drawn and to gain knowledge about the space and possible problems or issues. At this time, the contractor should work with the medical facility to acquire accurate asbestos, lead paint or other hazardous material reports related to the area. This process will allow early generation of any necessary Requests For Information (RFIs) or changes and will assist in maintaining schedule.

2. Develop an interim life safety plan that meets the needs of the facility. Prior to construction, an interim life safety plan should be drafted and submitted for approval to the facility. During any construction, the approved ILSP should be posted in a conspicuous place.

3. Understand the infection control/ risk assessment requirements and ensure they are met. Prior to construction, the contractor should request an infection control meeting with the facility as well as a thorough review of the risk assessment procedures.

4. Ensure that utility shutdowns and switchovers are properly planned and clearly communicated. Most renovation work requires a planned, temporary interruption in utility services (typically called a “shutdown”). When these are required, the contractor and/or its subcontractors will schedule the shutdown in accordance with the facility’s procedures. The service that is being interrupted must be identified and the affected areas or people must be notified so that interim measures can be taken. Any utilities that are shut down must be locked/tagged out. The written plan must be clearly communicated to the hospital’s facilities and engineering group as well as the department or staff being affected so that it is clearly understood what services are being disrupted, what equipment and/or services will be “down,” and the anticipated time frame of the disruption.

5. Provide proper project closeout documentation. Upon completion of the project, the contractor should provide the facility with the proper project closeout documentation, including Record Drawings (“As-Builts”), owner in-service training and equipment submittals — as well as any required commissioning. The contractor’s role is to ensure that the project is constructed in accordance with the design that has been reviewed by any inspecting agency, such as the Division of Health Service Regulation. Prior to site inspection by DHSR, the contractor and the project team should assemble the proper documentation (electronic and hard copies).

The proper documentation helps to ensure that the medical facility’s project functions as required and that the end users receive the healthcare that they need.

Although there are hundreds of best practices that need to be put in place prior to constructing within an occupied medical facility, these are five that have been are part of every successful healthcare project. Read More.

Reprinted from Becker’s Hospital Review.

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