Leadership is an attribute that comes naturally to the Houston Methodist Hospital System. In the past year, the Houston-based nonprofit health care organization once again figured prominently in U.S. News & World Report's annual ranking of the nation's best hospitals, with its flagship, Houston Methodist Hospital, placing among the country's top facilities in 11 specialties. It was also named the top hospital in both Texas and the Houston area.

And for the 10th year in a row, Houston Methodist was named to Fortune magazine's list of the 100 Best Companies to Work For. So it's hardly surprising that given its high-octane building program befitting the region's energy-based economy and its sterling reputation for project management among the Texas construction community, Houston Methodist now boasts another accolade: winner of ENR Texas & Louisiana's Owner of the Year award.

Last year saw the launch of the latest addition to the Houston Methodist hospital network—the groundbreaking for a $328-million, 470,000-sq-ft facility in The Woodlands that will provide the fast-growing community with a broad range of acute care services and 193 inpatient beds.

Also underway is the $540-million North Campus Expansion at Houston Methodist Hospital, which will include a 390-bed inpatient tower with expanded operating suites, hybrid procedure suites and a dedicated cardiology floor with 14 interventional catheterization labs. Both projects are scheduled for completion in 2017.

Another project in progress is a new 104-bed patient tower at Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital, part of a five-project, $131-million expansion program that also calls for a 60,000-sq-ft facility for Houston Methodist Orthopedics & Sports Medicine.

The driving force behind Methodist's extensive program can be summed up in a single word: people.

"Houston has been on a growth tear for the last three to four years," says Sidney J. Sanders, Houston Methodist's senior vice president for construction, facilities design and real estate. "Even though the economy has slowed because of falling oil prices, we remain one of the fastest-growing metropolitan areas in the nation."

Capital Program Management

Houston Methodist enjoys the financial resources to undertake a large, multifaceted building program but also finds itself in the same position as other public- and private-sector owners competing for construction talent in a strong market. While Houston Methodist typically turns to a select group of architects and engineers familiar with its campus and operational needs, selection of contractors involves consulting with six to eight candidate firms based on their availability for upcoming projects, among other criteria.

"With a good economy boosting activity in the commercial and institutional sectors, locating qualified teams with sufficient skills has become increasingly challenging," says Sanders. "We're also concerned about getting good prices from equipment manufacturers, especially with other hospital systems in the region readying to perform major expansions."