By John Guarracino
Boston is widely recognized as home to many world-renowned medical facilities. Coupled with the region’s topflight academic centers, these institutions are an important part of our region’s intellectual and economic foundation.
Over the years, JM Electrical has had the opportunity to contribute to projects at some of Boston’s leading healthcare institutions. From Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, to Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, we have contributed our expertise to some of the most respected medical centers around. Through these experiences, we have developed several observations about the challenges associated with working in and around medical facilities.
The installation of a reliable yet sophisticated energy management system is essential to many hospitals, as they seek to meet the unique needs of their facilities. And like most customers, hospitals are very specific when it comes to expectations. This kind of input, as well as our know-how, helps us better understand the scope of work as well as the high level of attention needed for these projects. It also allows for the kind of precision and perspective required when working in such a complex environment.
When it comes to healthcare facilities, scheduling and coordination are of the utmost importance. This is typical in hospitals and other live environments, in which businesses are open during a project. We take great care to understand the operational requirements in each setting in order to minimize disruption for patients and hospital faculty and staff.
With that in mind, it is crucial to have a thorough understanding of hospital procedures, especially when coordinating logistics around a construction site. For example, when kick-starting a renovation or construction cleanup — as well as to control the presence of dust and pathogens — utilizing a Hepa-cart system is key. Hepa-carts are specifically designed to protect hospital patients from debris during construction. Working with hospital facility management staff helps ensure a site’s swift and efficient return to business as usual, while greatly decreasing the impact on day-to-day hospital operations.
Building access is another factor. Many hospitals have protected areas, so minimizing the presence of unauthorized personnel is vital to security. At the same time, contractors often need to maneuver freely around work sites. At JM Electrical we understand the give and take around hospital working hours and occupancy and strive to complete our projects on schedule without contributing to unnecessary congestion or confusion, while remaining flexible throughout the construction schedule. In these cases, striking that balance is a savvy way for contractors to be responsive and effective while onsite.
Every hospital or medical location has high-level installation standards that frequently differ from facility to facility. Due to patient comfort, environmental considerations, and other factors, hospital mechanical systems are designed and maintained at higher standards than most buildings. In fact, hospitals are perhaps the most regulated of all building types, requiring detailed programming and construction codes that must be adhered to.
Medical facilities present a unique opportunity for contractors, as they often require adherence to a complex set of criteria given their focus on healing and innovation. Navigating the unique circumstances presented by hospitals calls for a specific skillset and an appreciation of each medical facility’s organizational, safety, and mechanical needs.
Working in Boston, we have had many wonderful opportunities to collaborate with the city’s medical community. These experiences have helped us gain the kind of essential skills that make JM Electrical an expert partner for these medical facilities.
John Guarracino is project manager at JM Electrical.