Neither your engineer nor
architect set out to design an inefficient facility, and it’s
doubtful that your construction manager intended to build one.
All the same, not all of today’s high-performance healthcare
designs end up living up to their promised performance.
Why? One reason is that few
facility operators hold the design and construction team
accountable for the operating results.
In today’s collaborative
construction environment, where design-build contracts and
integrated project delivery solutions are less uncommon, more
owners are writing into their design contract language that
holds these teams accountable.
The primary way to do is to hold
designers to a certain energy per square foot. For example, the
owner could require that the new facility operate at least 15
percent below ASHRAE standards with an initial target at less
than 170 kBtu/square foot.
So how does this affect you?
Well, by tracking operating results, facility managers are the
party responsible for making sure these designs live up to the
expectations. But your involvement can start earlier than
Get on the design/build team and
help the hospital understand how integrated technology will help
improve operational efficiency, quality of care and significant
improvements in energy utilization and associated costs.
Help vet the technology
integration partner that would need to meet their corporate
goals of 15 percent below the ASHRE average of 170 Btu/square
foot. In addition, have a continuous commissioning program built
into the new facility, thus providing lower operating and
maintenance costs over the building life cycle,
Here are a few additional
suggestions for getting the performance you expect from your new
building or addition:
Keep your contracts specific. A case
in point: what does a BMS contract require when it simply
states “the building management system will interface with
the nurse call system”? Your expectations of interface are
likely vastly different from the designers. Kimbell suggests
that when possible, you include “use-cases,” worded
descriptions of what you require your BMS contractor to
Don’t “value engineer” away your value.
As general contractors work to stay on budget, it may seem
like a simple solution to downgrade a system here and there.
And while this value-engineering may save on construction
costs in the short-term, it’s a poor long-term solution. A
BMS is an upfront investment designed to save significantly
on lifecycle costs, and help get the performance you expect
for your facility.
Plan now for predictive maintenance.
Reactive maintenance — conducting repairs after a failure
happens — is a costly and disruptive strategy. Predictive
maintenance tools monitor the condition of in-service
equipment either continuously or at set intervals.
Maintenance is a necessary part of keeping a building
performing well, so planning for it in the early stages of
construction can help you save time and money over the long
About the Author
Stacy Kimbell is the healthcare segment marketing manager with
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