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Factors to consider when upgrading a medical facility Building new or renovating: Which is a better fit for your healthcare clinic?

October 31, 2018
  • Thought Leadership
  • Process
The changing face of healthcare in Kansas means hospital administrators must address tough decisions when their existing facilities need to be upgraded. The biggest question to tackle: Should you build new or renovate?

Once you determine the needs of your community, you can better assess what enhancements and equipment make the most sense to invest in. But with the building itself, much of the decision will come down to cost.

Building a new facility will typically cost more up front than renovating it. However, highly technical or complicated renovations like those found in healthcare—surgical suites, patient rooms, radiographic imaging rooms, etc.—can cost just as much as a new facility. There are also the ongoing costs of operating and maintaining each space to consider. Typically, initial construction is about 20 percent of the facility’s total cost over 50 years. Often, the other 80 percent involves operations and maintenance, which increase with older infrastructure and equipment. 



Whether you’re looking to update a large healthcare facility or a small rural clinic, here are some pros and cons to consider as you evaluate your options.

New Construction
Benefits
• Health and wellness services can continue to operate in the existing facility during construction.
• Ongoing maintenance costs will be lower throughout the new facility’s lifecycle.
• Infrastructure will be better equipped to handle future technology and equipment needs.

Challenges
• Acquiring and developing new sites come with additional costs.
• The new location may be further from your existing patient and/or provider base.
• New sites require additional regulatory approvals and other considerations.

Renovation
Benefits
• You can continue to provide the same services and access to care your community has come to rely on.
• Repurposing existing space can be cost effective.
• Using an existing facility eliminates the need to acquire new land and possibly deal with rezoning.

Challenges
• Upgrading existing spaces will impact current operations and may affect patient care.
• You may be limited in your ability to upgrade certain systems due to the building’s existing infrastructure.
• HVAC systems may need to be replaced or modified, which comes at substantial cost.

Your best move is to consult with a construction management firm that specializes in preconstruction services like facility assessments. They can help determine which option is best for your given situation. It might be new construction, renovation, or a combination of both.



For more information on factors to consider with regard to your hospital or rural health clinic, download our white paper “Healthcare: Build New or Renovate?” by Derek Kautio, project executive.
 

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