Digby R. Christian plans to take a three-week vacation in his native England after his Sutter Medical Center, Castro Valley, team hands over its $320-million hospital in early July. After that, the Sutter Health senior project manager doesn't know where his next assignment will take him. Having pioneered a successful 11-party contract for integrated project delivery, he doesn't seem worried about his future.
That seems like a long time ago. Based on its Castro Valley experience, the health-care system is using the IPD-on-steroids model on at least two other California hospitals. "Sutter is taking the delivery model forward in the sense of getting a significant number of design and trade partners 100% at risk," says Christian.
When Christian arrived at the Castro Valley job, Sutter had assembled a team with three partners expected to share risk and reward. Based on the job's complexities, instinct told Christian to get all the profit at risk. He expanded the agreement.
It wasn't an easy road. The behaviors of the parties at risk were not aligning at first because behaviors traditionally align with transferring risk, not managing it.
"Digby is one of a few owners who gets involved and stays involved on a daily basis," says Ralph E. Eslick, Castro Valley's senior project manager for DPR Construction Inc., Redwood City, Calif. "He kept us focused on the client's success. And if the client is successful, we are."
Hospital builders are not the only ones drawn to Castro Valley. Even members of Disney Imagineering visited the project.