MaineGeneral Medical Center - Alfond Center for Health, Augusta, Maine

The 644,000-sq-ft Alfond Center for Health at MaineGeneral Medical Center is an acute care hospital built to consolidate services from two MaineGeneral facilities in Augusta and Waterville. The 192-bed center was planned, designed, budgeted and built using a full integrated project delivery (IPD) process, with all key members signing a single contract, including the owner.

One of the benefits to IPD is its ability to overlap design and construction phases and shorten the project's overall duration. Once the building's footprint and schematic were completed, work commenced on the construction side, long before the project team had completed final interior arrangements.

The hospital's financing was unexpectedly delayed, and instead of breaking ground in April 2011, contractors began work in August. Starting construction so close to winter impacted the schedule, since the foundation contractor would be encountering dramatically different soil conditions. By using the IPD method, though, the site work contractor—which was performing cost-plus work—was able to proceed without waiting for a complex change order. By working together, the team completed the project 10 months early, allowing the owner to open the facility in 26 months, despite the delayed start.

The IPD method also helped the team identify $20 million in savings, some of which were reinvested in improved mechanical systems and sustainable design elements, such as a heat recovery system, rooftop collection of rainwater, use of greywater for chillers, LED lighting and locally sourced materials. This allowed the project to move from a LEED-Silver target to LEED Gold, which one judge said was "exceptional."

One judge called the use of the IPD method "innovation at its highest level." Another praised the team's "collaborative approach."

The judges also applauded the contractors for "keeping the work local." For example, when the team put out a request for proposals for drywall and acoustical ceiling work, it became clear that the four local subcontractors would be bidding against each other on the biggest job in the state, and at the height of the recession.

The hospital, which knew all four, realized the negative impact that could be felt by the losing bidders. Therefore, instead of awarding the job to a single firm, the team invited all four to operate under a single contract for the work. The unorthodox approach posed a great risk, but all parties made it work. As a result, Maine-based companies employed more than 90% of the project's work force.

Key Players

Owner/Developer MaineGeneral Medical Center

General Contractor Robins & Morton

Lead Design Firm/Interior Architect/MEP Engineer SMRT and TRO Jung Brannen

Structural Engineer SMRT