Why It’s Time For A Radical Rethink By Healthcare Construction Contractors
40 new hospitals plus multiple new and extended GP practices and health centres – that’s a lot of healthcare construction to be procured and delivered.
The positive business outlook is replicated across the construction sector, including house building and infrastructure. The Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) has been floating above the 50 ‘no change’ level for over nine months.
Naturally, increased demand for construction projects puts pressure on the markets for materials and labour. Material supply issues may be easing for the time being but labour shortages will be hard to solve, which means projects are delayed and costs are increasing.
In simple economic terms, the way to balance rising costs is through greater productivity – so that every hour worked or unit of capital invested produces a greater level of output. And this is where the construction industry has tended to struggle. Traditional construction methods are inflexible and have proved resistant to productivity improvements.
How to Deliver Greater Productivity in Healthcare Construction
These economic forces place healthcare construction right at the heart of the objectives behind the Construction Playbook. To meet the ambitious healthcare construction targets without blowing up project budgets to unsustainable levels we have to be more productive. And to be more productive we have to build differently.
This is where the objectives of policy makers, procurement teams, contractors and supply chains need to be aligned to deliver greater productivity and efficiency. The starting point needs to be the recognition that MMC and offsite methods are a prerequisite if you want to safeguard budgets and delivery schedules.
Specifying MMC and offsite is one thing. Ensuring that contractors and supply chains have a track record of working in these environments is another.
The way that projects with high levels of premanufactured content are planned and delivered is radically different from the traditional model. There’s a steep learning curve across multiple disciplines and project phases. If contractors have to learn all of this ‘on the fly’ it’s likely that productivity gains won’t materialise.
Osborne has substantial experience of applying MMC to improve productivity in healthcare construction. We also have access to solutions such as a modular car parking system that help free up land for expanded healthcare facilities, both within communities and on hospital sites.