Hospital construction projects pose extremely complex managerial problems. Recent government reports have been scathing in their criticisms of the unacceptable delays and cost increases in the delivery of new hospitals. The problems that hospital project managers face are particularly acute during the early stages of the project when the detailed user requirements are being established.

Many of the problems that develop later in the project can be traced back to a lack of attention given to the early stages of the project. It is in these early stages that the project manager has to reconcile the many disparate and often conflicting demands made by the multitude of user groups, funding bodies, government departments, estates maintenance departments and project consultants.

Hospital development characteristics

One of the most striking characteristics that distinguish hospital projects from other project types is the time scale over which they occur and the large costs involved. It is common for total costs to run to many tens of millions of naira and for total project time scales to reach ten to fifteen years.

When these types of time scales are compared against the average human life of seventy years their significance becomes apparent. Technologically, hospitals are also likely to be highly complex requiring the integration of diverse and intricate building services.

Functionally they are equally complex, having to satisfy the disparate demands of the general public and the highly trained staff that operate the facility. The functional performance requirements are such that the quality of construction has to be exceptionally high. 

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