Just in case you were wondering, "Does it matter what contractor I choose for the build out of my medical facility?"... The short answer is, YES! Building out a medical imaging suite is far more involved than a typical office construction project.
When you start dealing with medical gasses, lead lining or R/F shielding, specialized doors and windows, the contractor you choose should have a solid background in dealing with these additional items.
During my time in this industry I have worked with absolute professionals that understand the complexities and intricacies required of these types of construction projects. The good news is that projects with these individuals typically move very efficiently and ON SCHEDULE!
On the flip side, I’ve also worked with contractors that have no idea what they’ve gotten themselves into. Much to the frustration to everyone involved, these projects often deal with delays, cost over runs for the customer, and delays in scanning patients and generating revenue.
So the question then becomes, "How do I choose a contractor that will do an excellent job for me?"
1. Ask for References!
Ask the contractor about other medical imaging facility projects they have recently been part of. Then do something crazy - take it a step further and actually follow-up! Call the Facilities Director, ask for a tour of the site. Ask questions about what issues they had in construction, how the final costs came in vs. the estimates, and was construction on schedule.
2. Ask Details About Their Business
Important questions to ask:
- Does the contractor work out of their truck or do they have an office?
- Are they LICENSED and do they belong to any associations?
- Do they carry adequate insurance coverage?
- Can they produce a copy of the insurance declarations sheet with your company named as additional insured?
- Are the coverages sufficient for the project you are discussing?
These are all key questions that when coupled with satisfactory responses will protect you throughout the construction process.
3. Make Sure Details are Addressed Up Front
No one likes surprises of the financial sort! Items like proper incoming power for the equipment you are proposing can be overlooked and costly.
Example: Having to pull in 480V 3 Phase power for your CT scanner could cost $15,000 -$25,000 or more depending on the situation!
Carefully coordinate equipment requirements with your equipment provider before construction starts. If your equipment provider cannot assist in providing necessary information to your contractor, then that’s a red flag suitable for another blog post!
Additional items like standard power outlets in proper locations, a sufficient number of phone and IT connections, and proper structural support for ceiling mounted equipment can range from minor headaches to opening your checkbook for large amounts. A contractor familiar with medical facilities and imaging equipment can help you avoid many of these common pitfalls.
You also want to make sure you’re not paying double for services from two different sources. Know what your equipment provider is including in their “Turnkey” package.
4. Insist on comprehensive written contracts
Make sure there are no charges or fees written into the fine print and ensure the quote includes everything needed to complete the project. Specific items excluded are just as important as those items that are included.
Understand the costs and fees for changes in the work and ask to see documentation to support the pricing. Negotiate! Be sure you understand your responsibilities, i.e. providing water and power for construction use, building access, your builders risk insurance, etc. A handshake is hard to uphold in court, but a countersigned contract can make the difference between recovering damages and getting hung out to dry.
Get creative in your dealings with contractors! More so than a lot of other industries, your facility is the key to generating income and every delay in the project means one less day of scanning and reimbursements. Adding contract incentives for completing a project on time, or early can be great motivation to keep everyone focused on YOUR project and not the other jobs they have going on.
Our Project Management team is a great source of information should you have any questions about your upcoming project. We may be able to recommend a great contractor as well as make sure you’re connected with someone that can provide quality refurbished equipment for your new facility.
It’s worth it to pay for true expertise!
Meet the author - Kenn Dextrom
Photo courtesy of Joey Fischer of VisualTherapy