Case Study

The Hale Family Center's Healing Construction

The Challenge

In 2014, Boston Children’s Hospital began an ambitious 10-year, $3 billion strategic capital plan, whose cornerstone would be the Hale Family Building, a state-of-the-art pediatric care facility. 

The scope, complexity, and strategic importance of this capital plan obliged a standard Risk Assurance audit focused on BCH’s capital project delivery capabilities before proceeding. Although the audit lauded the skillset and experience of the BCH Facilities Management team, it also highlighted inherent inefficiencies and risk in their manual processes, non-integrated project data, and disconnected Excel-based cost control and financial reporting. Management agreed these issues had to be addressed as soon as possible and provided the Facilities Management team with appropriate technology to support them in successful project delivery.

The Solution

BCH’s implementation of Procore organized, digitized, and standardized every facet of BCH’s capital project delivery, connecting and streamlining processes, data, documentation, and stakeholder communication in a single collaborative space. Integrating Procore with the ERP and Capital Planning systems utilized by the rest of the hospital keeps project financials synchronized across the business, ensuring all stakeholders are working from the same data.

“The project’s data—including its financial data—are standardized and digitized. We can go into a project in Procore to see exactly where the real-time spend is. Procore provides the right level of control to satisfy our internal team and external risk management assessments. It reduces risk, keeps everyone on the same page, and allows us to spend more time on higher-value activities.”
Al Nover
BCH Facilities Finance & Contract Manager
BOSTON CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL

Premier Pediatric Hospital Heals its Construction Process

Al Nover is the Facilities Finance and Contract manager at renowned BCH—the world’s go-to for vanguard pediatric care. “At Boston Children's Hospital, the facilities management team is really a service organization for the hospital. Our clients are the doctors and the departments that need space. When they need buildings built, we oversee the construction.” 

When BCH rolled out an ambitious 10-year, $3 billion capital plan they called “Transforming Tomorrow”, the centerpiece was the Hale Family Center, a 15-story (four of them underground), state-of-the-art pediatric hospital and research facility whose forward-leaning medical tech and human-embracing design would only burnish BCH’s reputation as the global center for pediatric healing.

A capital project delivery risk assessment found BCH’s Facilities Management group exhibited deep expertise well-suited to the complex projects they manage. The audit also found a worrisome process patchwork of spreadsheets, manual entries, and disconnected islands of time-critical data. 

“The audit discovered we had good cost controls, and PMs knew what they were doing,” Nover says, “but it was all on Excel, like a lot of institutions back in the day. We had Excel sheets in silos that only the PM really had visibility to and understood. Some of these sheets were very complicated.”

Children's Hospital Boston main entrance

Digitize, Utilize, Standardize

BCH retained a leading capital project consulting firm to, as Al Nover colorfully puts it, “…help us get out of the land of spreadsheets and siloed data.” The first link in any project’s initiation and funding approval chain—a three-inch-thick manila folder called the ‘Step Package’—was itself a shining symbol of what needed to go. 

“That was all manual,” Nover says with amused wonder. “We were actually stuffing envelopes full of documents and sending them through inter-department mail. It seems so ridiculous now! ‘Where's the step package’, right? We're on the phone, trying to find the signatures…”

Armed with a business case to reduce risk and fuel improvement, BCH went looking for a new digital solution and found Procore—and the airtight efficiencies of an all-in-one digital platform providing crystal clear project data to all collaborators. 

Nover is unequivocal. “With Procore, we've digitized most of our business processes, which has been a massive benefit for us. Significantly, once we're into the project, the financial data is standardized and automatically synced across Procore, Oracle ERP, and Hyperion Capital Planning.” 

The constantly refreshed project data flows across the enterprise and is consolidated, with actionable clarity, in the Procore platform. “This allows PMs to have all the necessary info,” Nover explains. “There’s no manual entry; it's all synced with the general ledger. We see every change, every PO, every commitment—all the financial data is digitized.”

Low angle view of Boston's Children North Hospital

The Hale Family Building and BCH’s Tomorrow

Slated to open in the fall of 2021, the Hale Family Building epitomizes the future of pediatric care. From fully integrated surgical environments to clinical labs with efficiency-boosting open floor plans, to a healing bounty of indoor and outdoor green and open space, the project is connecting today with tomorrow. Similarly, Al Nover believes the project data can help continuously improve BCH’s growth going forward. 

“We’ve acquired Procore Analytics with the new owners-focused reporting package. Now that we have all of our information in one place, I'm very excited to dig in and see how much more value we can extract from our project data.”  

BCH mandates that every facilities project is managed in Procore, from the largest and most complex new builds—such as the Hale Family Building—to the simplest capital improvement. To date, BCH has run hundreds of projects on the Procore platform since implementation.

Nover has been in the building game long enough to know that the object of all this fuss is people, and technology is at its best when advancing that cause. 

“You know, my goal has always been to support the project teams and project managers who are running around with their hair on fire. Now, they don't have to go anywhere else but Procore to see all their RFIs, submissions, drawings, and photos—the document-management side of the house. And with the integration of financial data, they have a one-stop-shop that's super user-friendly and truly makes their lives easier.” Nover pauses. “The benefits for us have been efficiency, visibility, accuracy, and control. We’re not chasing paperwork; we know where stuff is. Procore is our single source of truth.”

To hear more about BCH’s story directly from Al Nover, watch the recording of our Groundbreak 2020 session: Managing the Financial Success of Your Capital Projects as an Owner.

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