"Conditions can change quickly, particularly in this market," says Syphard, whose firm has worked with Houston Methodist on a variety of projects. "An informed, relationship-based client like Houston Methodist is better able to make good, timely decisions."

Vaughn agrees, noting that Houston Methodist has a clear understanding of what it expects from project team members and responds in kind with trust and respect. "They never second-guess your input, nor do they micromanage or fret over issues of control."

Another asset, says LaRue, is Houston Methodist's willingness to embrace new trends in project delivery, including the principles and technologies inherent in lean construction. "Houston Methodist is good at identifying and removing obstacles that prevent team members from doing the best job they can," he says.

Nor, he says, does Houston Methodist exclude itself from critique. "If they're not moving fast enough on something," says LaRue, "we can tell them, and they'll do something about it."