APP has been busy working on a number of health projects throughout Covid. In Queensland, we’ve been delivering a new hybrid operating theatre, recovery area and other facilities for St Vincent’s Private Hospital Northside. We also completed a new pathology lab for the Bundaberg Hospital earlier in the year.
Next year, we expect that as Covid restrictions ease (we hope!) there will be a large volume of health and hospital projects coming to the market. This will be in addition to the already commenced works on major hospital expansion at Caboolture, Logan, Ipswich and new hospitals for Bundaberg and Toowoomba. During the election, the prospects of a new state hospital also seems certain for Bribie Island. In addition to traditional hospitals will be a potential plethora of day surgeries and advanced medical centres. The pace of advancement in health science is not slowing down and neither are our appetites for it.
This volume of health and hospital projects will be welcomed by the industry but may also cause some challenges for clients. Genuine health expertise and capability could be stretched thin. Anyone who has been responsible for delivering a hospital project knows that you do need specialists to understand the complex stakeholder environment, the uber critical issue of programming, the sensitivity around disruption to services (when working in operating environments), the intricacy of services, gases and other medical infrastructure, the unique nature and requirements of much medical equipment (and its supply and procurement), to name just a few. You cannot expect contractors or project managers who have been delivering apartment buildings or industrial property to easily migrate across to the health side, certainly not without a good deal of experienced guidance, mentoring and training.
Margins have been compressing and for some clients, the temptation to accept very low prices rather than scrutinise the capability and reputations of the proposed project team, could be hard to resist. This is not to say that the highest price guarantees the best team, but it’s almost a certainty that the lowest price means either the junior, inexperienced team or that the time budgeted has been deliberately underestimated to win the work. This is a pattern of pricing and tendering that the industry keeps repeating and a trap that some clients repeatedly fall into.
With 2021 shaping up as a year of big health and hospital projects – public and private – this could be worth keeping in mind. APP are fortunate that we are part of a large national organisation and can draw on expertise and resources from across the business when needed, to support our local team members. Given that each new hospital usually features the latest innovations in medical practice or equipment, this pooling of insights from within the APP organisation is incredibly beneficial. And it’s something we plan to be doing more of in 2021.
If you’d like a copy of our health capability, contact Ross Elliot.