Tradition Medical Center Embodies ‘Start Smart, Design Smart, Build Smart’
Designed and built at the height of the recession, the 90-bed satellite hospital opened its doors Dec. 18, 2013 — on schedule, despite 63 rain days during construction, and several million dollars under budget. The medical center’s entire design and construction team, led jointly by Martin Health System, HKS Inc. and Balfour Beatty Construction, was committed to the philosophy, “start smart, design smart, build smart.” The project was based on collaboration, Lean design and building an efficient facility responsive to changing needs.
Martin Health System initially conceived of Tradition Medical Center in 1998, when demographics indicated a burgeoning demand for a hospital in Tradition, Fla., a master-planned community in Port St. Lucie. At the time, the local and U.S. economies were booming. By 2010, once the lengthy certificate of need approval process was completed, the economic outlook had changed substantially. Few health systems were building; most were waiting out the recession, as well as uncertainty over the impact of national health reform on medical reimbursement. Questions were raised within MHS about moving forward with the project. The health system’s leaders accurately predicted this was the perfect time to proceed, as projects were scarce and the design and construction market was extremely competitive.
MHS was also savvy in fostering an integrated team approach that encouraged collaboration. Rather than conducting independent, one-hour interviews with architect and construction manager candidates, as is standard, the health system held two collaborative half-day workshops to see how the architects and construction managers worked together and whether they resonated with key hospital stakeholders. The format was loosely defined, to give MHS an indication of what the candidates prioritized and whether they felt comfortable working as a team over a two- to three-year construction time frame. MHS ultimately selected HKS and Balfour Beatty Construction, and the three organizations signed a tri-party (owner/architect/construction manager) contract.