Hospital Project Benefits from Prequalified, Lump-Sum Bid Process

CHICAGO — A competitive, lump-sum bid approach to delivery resulted in substantial savings for Central DuPage Hospital’s complex construction project.

A new 202-bed patient tower at the Winfield, Ill. hospital opened last summer to replace general medical service beds in CDH’s original facility, built in the 1970s.

The five-story concrete and curtain wall pavilion comprises 280,000 square feet and now serves as the new public entrance to the hospital.

The facility features all private rooms, in contrast to the double-occupancy rooms previously offered at CDH. The pavilion also houses support space, an auditorium, a physician’s lounge, a medical library, administrative offices and material storage.

In addition to the bed tower, CDH built a 360-space parking structure to replace spaces lost to accommodate the new building and relocated its helicopter pad.

The hospital was fully functional during the $235 million capital construction project.

The project team included owner representative Graham Harwood, principal and director of service delivery at Owner Services Group, Architect Daniel White of RTKL Associates and Larry Bell, CDH’s vice president of construction.

Pepper Construction Group of Chicago built the bed tower and Appleton, Wis.-based Boldt Construction built the parking structure.

The bed pavilion was built to meet LEED Silver certification, using local suppliers and materials and high-efficiency HVAC systems, and lighting controls.

Although CDH has always had excellent patient satisfaction reviews, the figures have increased even more since the new facility debuted, says Harwood. The new rooms are all single-occupancy and feature special touches such as digital wall clocks that also display room temperature.

Upgraded bedside remote controls allow patients to operate automatic shades or drapes and control room lighting. Private nursing desk areas allow nurses to see into patient rooms while maintaining patient privacy and HIPPA regulations through the use of piezometric glass.

The hospital, which first opened in 1964, employs a staff of more than 900 physicians and houses a total of 313 beds including intensive care, psychiatric, pediatric and maternity units.

Controlling the Bids

The CDH project worked well with a lump-sum bid approach because of the nature of the market and the fact that contractors were hungry for work to fill their order books, Harwood said.

The best control options for a client are often achieved by combining traditional approaches with project management best practices, says Harwood, who wrote about the project in “Meeting Hospital Goals Starts at Planning,” an article in the December 2011 issue of Chicago Hospital and Healthcare Report. It is best to weigh cost control options at the project launch phase, he says.

“It wasn’t just a lump-sum bid to anybody, though,” he said. “A key part of it was prequalification of the general contractors, making sure that we got the most suitable contractor to do the appropriate work.”

General contractors and their staff were reviewed and interviewed before they could submit bids, and separate contractors bid on the parking garage and the bed tower because of the different expertise required for the two projects.

“We controlled the bidding environment,” he said. “We found the companies that were appropriate to do it and then made sure that the staff they would have on the job were the most suitable staff to do the job. So when we bid the project on a lump-sum bid, we had a limited number of bidders —maybe five — and we were confident that any one of them could do the project.”