Overcoming unforeseen changes in condition is a constant challenge in construction. The NDC team went above and beyond to turn over a successful renovation for Fair Haven Community Health Care in the middle of a public health crisis.
The vision of the capital expansion of FHCHC’s landmark facility at 374 Grand Avenue was to modernize the building complex and improve its ability to offer integrated primary care, behavioral health, and dental referrals for patients from pediatrics to geriatrics.
The well-laid phased plans included upgrades to exam, lab, pharmacy, and waiting areas, totaling 18,000 sq. ft. of occupied space. However, the timing for the start of construction presented unexpected challenges. Just as the project team was poised to begin, COVID-19 upended the schedule. The public health crisis also made the vital services provided by FHCHC even more essential throughout the pandemic.
When the Governor declared a public health emergency on March 10, 2020, the entire project team quickly shifted its highest priority to support FHCHC in maintaining – and increasing – operational activities throughout the crisis. Constant communication was crucial. Regular updates were held every week throughout the mandated 36-day construction shutdown. In many ways, coming together to meet the pandemic’s uncertainty and anxiety galvanized trust within the project team.
Other unforeseen changes in conditions over the course of the project included mitigating a water leak issue promptly and efficiently, addressing structural integrity and flooring deficiencies, accommodating increased operational activities, and adjusting the project scope for a late-stage modification.
In the end, everyone contributed to getting the job done on schedule, including all subcontractors and trades. The Owner’s Representative played a crucial role in reviewing every change order to ensure that they were accurate and reasonable. The NDC Superintendent and the Building Facility Manager worked very closely throughout the project to coordinate the phased schedule and move departments efficiently in and out of swing spaces. The timing was critical to ensure that they had enough time to move into the new space and clear the swing space once one phase was complete.
The Fair Haven Community Health Care capital expansion project was an extraordinary success completed during a global health crisis.