One company whose business moved somewhat opposite of the prevailing trend was Gilbane Building Co., which finished second on the list of construction management companies after registering a nearly 109% increase in dollar volume and a 114% jump in construction volume. Last year, it completed the 1.2 million-square-foot Fort Belvoir Community Hospital on a U.S. Army base in Virginia and the new 850,000-square-foot Elmhurst (Ill.) Memorial Hospital in the Chicago suburbs.
“We had a lot of large projects last year,” says Brian Garbecki, a Gilbane vice president. “Some of the smaller projects went away (during the recession), but the large projects kept going.”
Unlike residential and retail construction, it was previously believed that once a healthcare construction project got rolling, work didn't stop until it was completed. The recession changed that.
For the past three years, Modern Healthcare's survey has been tracking work stoppages—numbers that have been steadily improving since 2009.
In 2011, among the companies participating in the survey, 67 (or about 39%) reported being involved with a project where work was stopped or postponed. In all, they said worked stopped on 244 projects in 2011, but resumed on 72 of those projects by year's end. Also in 2011, respondents reported that work had resumed on 67 projects where it had stopped in 2010.
“Some of the projects that went on hold came back slightly smaller—but with room to expand and be more flexible,” Garbecki says.
In last year's survey, 91 companies (46%) reported having projects stop or stall in 2010. In all, they said work stopped on 314 projects in 2010, but resumed on 98 of those projects before the year was over. Also in 2010, respondents reported that work resumed on 105 projects where it had stopped in 2009.
Not surprisingly, the worst numbers are from 2009 when 116 companies (62% of those surveyed) reported they had projects stall. In all, they said work stopped on 575 projects in 2009, including 135 that restarted later that year.