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Stout growth in health care construction forecast for 2017-18

The $345 million construction and renovation of Reading HealthPlex was completed this year. The 476,000-square-foot facility, adjacent to Reading Hospital in West Reading, illustrates what has been a steady recovery in health care construction

Architect magazine reports that health care construction spending is projected to double this year from $19.6 billion in 2016.

Architect magazine reports that health care construction spending is projected to double this year from $19.6 billion in 2016.

There also is a projected significant expansion, renovation and construction of new health care facilities in 2017.

The 2017 Dodge Construction Outlook predicts there will be a 7 percent increase in health care facility construction.

Late last year, there was a bit of a stall in health care construction as the market seemed to be waiting the outcome of the presidential election and the future of the Affordable Care Act.

Dodge expects health care construction to pick up with a rise in off-site health clinics and the continued increase to serve the needs of the elderly and aging baby boomers. And, according to Dodge chief economist Robert Murray, growth will continue into 2018.

The increased need to provide health care to an aging population will translate into the need to build new facilities closer to the population to meet its needs, and to meet the patients where they are.

This could mean “micro-hospitals” that may be 15,000-to-50,000 square feet and have five to 15 inpatient beds for observation and short stays. This new type of facility would be full service and open 24/7, which would differentiate it from urgent care facilities.

Health care construction is making a steady recovery, according to Fails Management Institute. Traditional large hospital projects are returning to the design phase with fewer large hospital projects in the works.

FMI says the bulk of the work will be renovation and additions, as well as outpatient care. New facility designs are responding to the need for a patient-centered environment as well as reducing concerns for the spread of so-called supergerms.

One factor that could accelerate growth in health care construction, as well as other types of construction, would be a reduction in government regulations on multiple levels.

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