The benefits of co-locating design and construction teams

by Jennifer Aliber and Michelle Mantegna

As demand for faster, more efficient and progressive projects across renovations and new construction accelerates, the request for in-person, cross-team collaboration has followed suit. Co-location holds the promise of significant savings in time, effort, and financial resources, while enhancing the quality of the documents, construction process, and finished building.

One such example is the new patient tower and renovations at Banner University Medical Center Tucson (BUMCT) in Arizona. The innovative and integrated project utilized the “big-room” experience of co-location with design and construction teams working together from a central operations hub to provide thoughtful consideration and coordination beyond that of traditional project delivery.

The outcome? A contemporary 670,000-sf addition that replaces much of the existing hospital with cohesive spaces that consider patient and staff wellbeing.

Banner big-room experience

The Banner big room entailed realignment of practices and priorities from that of individual entities to that of the project. Led by Shepley Bulfinch, the core design and construction team included a local architecture and engineering firm, a national engineering firm, two construction management firms, and Banner Health, based in Phoenix. Additional engineering consultants and subcontractors also participated in the big room.

Comprising nine floors of new construction—including five floors of 240 private critical care and medical-surgical patient rooms—the project consists of labor and delivery, 24 operating rooms and more than 50 imaging, interventional, and other clinical diagnostic exam and treatment rooms.

A new main entrance for the medical center, lobby, cafeteria, and other public amenity areas as well as a new loading dock, materials management, pharmacy, central sterile processing, blood bank, and other support areas complete the new construction. Connections to the existing hospital and medical campus occur on four floors with an additional 75,000 sf of renovation planned as backfill projects.

Excerpts from article originally featured in Health Facilities Management magazine.