Instead, the focus for 2015 will be on numerous expansion and renovation projections that cost considerably less, with most in the $20 million range. “Large construction companies are learning how to adjust to the smaller outpatient projects,” he said.
One trend that emerged in 2014 and is likely to continue this year is the development of stand-alone emergency departments with designs that allow for easy expansion if the market calls for it, predicted Dennis Kaiser, healthcare market sector leader for Perkins & Will architects in Boston.
Kaiser also sees small, older full-service hospitals being converted into stand-alone EDs. “That's the way it's going to be in a lot of small communities,” he said.
Still, Turner's Keiser thinks the construction industry will continue to rebound from the recession that hit its healthcare sector particularly hard. He has seen projections for growth of 6% to 8%, but he estimates 5%.
“I'm cautiously optimistic the healthcare market will continue to grow,” he said.
The term being used to describe the driving principle behind new healthcare facilities is “value-based design,” which Keiser described as focusing on features that directly benefit patient care and improve staff efficiency.
“Atriums and water features are gone,” he said. “Hospitals are looking for speed to market, flexibility, driving costs down to the penny and making sure processes are efficient for staff.”