Monday, August 31, 2009

Meanwhile, back in Architectureland...

...the board of directors for TCMC have approved a couple extra hundred grand to allow for an addition as well as the renovation of their existing surgery suite. Bosley and Howie went to the meeting and presented the pros and cons, the contractors were there to answer some questions about those pros and cons and give their two cents' worth, and Akira from Avanta was there for...some reason, I'm not sure what. Wes evidently couldn't be bothered to go, or maybe he figured there was no reason to show up if increasing the budget was a foregone conclusion. Apparently, during the two weeks between our last meeting with TCMC and their board meeting, there had been more talk amongst the hospital staff and the community, and more support had been garnered for approving the extra cabbage roll if it was at all available.

I'm surprised, but I guess I shouldn't be, really. I'm surprised because it's rare that architecture projects in general and healthcare projects in particular can get extra funds approved, especially here lately in the Land of Ever-Decreasing Funding that is construction finance. However, I've noticed that if a project involves a department that makes money--like imaging or surgery, or in some facilities OB/GYN or physical therapy--boards and CFOs are more likely to go digging through the sofa cushions for change if the project needs more to make it right. No one wants to underfund the improvements of a service line that actually pads the coffers of the facility. (I've heard mixed reviews on renovations of EDs [emergency departments], as they frequently lose money but you can't not have them, or if you do have them they have to be good or you could get sued if someone dies in your ED.) So, in that light, it makes sense that TCMC's surgery suite would get the extra cashola to rock-n-rolla.

Meanwhile, Intern Kimmy and I just sent out the SDs for FCH's surgery and ICU renovations, and it actually kinda exhausted me. It was a normal workweek, no overtime involved, but Bosley had been out of the office for six straight workdays and suddenly had to put his hands on the drawings. It was nothing too big, just some exterior roof system details, but it was just enough to frustrate me. Here's the deal: SD, or schematic design, is usually a pretty thin set of drawings. I do a few plans and exterior elevations, and then the engineers do a narrative or two that explain what's going on in the project and what will need to be done, and then the contractor (if you have one on board) will use those few documents to do some early cost-per-square-foot pricing. Peeps, I'm here to tell you that Kimmy and I put out a 28-page SD set. Seriously, it was ridiculous. The architect from the firm-of-record that will inherit our drawings in a month called me all surprised, but for the opposite reason that I thought. "Pixie," he said almost breathlessly, "I just heard that the engineers aren't doing any drawings...?"

"No," I responded. "SD is usually a couple of plans and exterior elevations, maybe a schematic spec to help the contractor understand what systems and finishes I'm using, and the engineers do the same thing, but with narratives." I saw Kimmy's shocked and slightly-offended face pop up over the cubicle partition in my direction. We made eye contact and I continued. "To be fair, we did the SD plan for this project during the master planning effort for FCH, so these drawings are really ahead of what we usually do."

After I hung up with the architect, Kimmy said, "Pix! He just called me and asked me that very question about the engineers not doing drawings! Did he think I was lying or something?!"

I shook my head. "I don't think he does a lot of hospitals, and maybe SD is different for the kinds of projects he usually does. Go figure."

After all, Akira is using a couple of floor plans from DA as well as the engineers' pricing/scope narratives that we did three weeks ago to take to the Avanta headquarters in California to get SD approval from the bigwigs. If a couple of plans are good enough for healthcare management poobahs, it ought to be good enough for everyone else.

1 comment:

Wilderness Gina said...

Tell Kimmy re: the Arch. calling you to affirm his explaination: IT'S NOTHING PERSONEL. BAAHAHAHA!! (much rolling on the floor laughing)
Being low man on the totem pole sucks, dude. I was "the new guy" on my first construction job. No one believed me either. At least yur not female.