Nabholz Construction Services

It takes a contractor with a great deal of experience in the healthcare sector working closely with a talented healthcare architect to successfully value-engineer a hospital’s design while maintaining aesthetics. That’s exactly what Nabholz Construction Services and Health Facilities Group accomplished for the new Scott County Hospital in Scott County, Kan., which replaces an existing facility.

The new building is a “work of art,” as described by Nabholz Construction, because of ornate details such as river-shaped corridors and ceilings, as well as intricate patterns in the floors and walls. “It features artist-type finishes,” says Kenny Giese, job superintendent for Nabholz Construction.

This replacement structure is taking the place of a 60-year-old facility that had become obsolete and was too small to properly serve a growing population. As the construction manager at-risk, Nabholz Construction will deliver a 68,000-square-foot facility in May 2012 for $20 million. The company broke ground on the project in September 2010.

The hospital will feature 14 rooms with a capacity for 25 beds, as well as a clinic, two surgery suites, a department of obstetrics and waiting rooms.

Monitoring Costs

Nabholz Construction worked with project owner Scott County and Healthcare Facilities Group – the architect of record – to finalize the early site package, structural needs and the finishes. Although the entire design phase lasted through January of this year, the construction was able to begin in September because of the phasing of the schedule.

“We’re able to help control the budget as the plans develop,” Project Manager Kent Doughty says. “We consistently provide updated prices to the owner and architect to show we’re staying within budget. We have had four or five cycles of pricing where we’ve found areas where we’d go over, then we’d work with the design team and owner to get it back in line.”

Doughty says Nabholz Construction saved $100,000 by suggesting an alternative plan for the complex roof system. Initially, plans called for a laminated wood beam roof structure. The Nabholz Construction team, along with the architect, determined Scott County Hospital would be better served with a conventional red iron roof with a few select beams wrapped in drywall and wood.

Another change prompted by Nabholz Construction and the architect was the layout of the structure itself. The original plans called for a two-story structure with administrative offices occupying the second floor. However, Nabholz Construction determined it would be more cost-effective to extend the structure on a single level instead.

One aspect that remained in place, however, was the roof of the main corridor. Doughty says it has numerous curves that wind through the structure like a river. The corridor itself features 30-foot-tall windows as well as skylights in the ceiling and native stones and cherry wood for finishes. This feature provides for an open and voluminous space with plentiful natural light.

Design Challenges

Breaking ground in September did not give the construction team much time to complete site work before the harsh midwestern winter arrived. That is why the architect and Nabholz chose the use of precast walls instead of concrete masonry units (CMU).

Precast walls can be erected in a fraction of the time it takes to erect CMUs. By switching to precast walls for 75 percent of the building, Doughty estimates that three months were cut from the schedule. 

With the precast walls erected, Nabholz and the construction team performed the underground utility work throughout the winter instead of halting construction until favorable weather returned. “Using precast in the winter is a whole lot nicer than trying to construct CMUs in the winter,” he says. “That allowed us to work through weather we normally wouldn’t.”

Building the Midwest

Founded in 1949 by Bob Nabholz, Nabholz Construction has grown into a multidisciplinary construction firm with nine offices in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri.

“As a leading contractor in our region, nobody offers the full-service, general contracting and construction management expertise with such broad self-perform capabilities than Nabholz Construction Services,” the company says. “With a companywide production force of more than 600 skilled craftsmen, Nabholz has the resources to ensure that [clients’] projects are completed on time and within budget.”

True Partnership

Doughty credits the members of the construction team with the success of the project thus far. “This is a great team of professionals who complement each other during both preconstruction and now the construction phase of the project,” he says. Nabholz’s key partners include Prestressed Concrete Inc.

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