A Lifetime of Quality Care
One of LF Driscoll’s long-term clients is Penn Medicine, which oversees a system of six acute hospitals and hundreds of outpatient centers across the greater Philadelphia region. Decades of experience working on their facilities has allowed LFD and Penn Medicine to forge a trusting partnership that helps them achieve their goals.
LF Driscoll began working in the Penn Medicine system in 1985 when they were brought in to manage some ancillary renovations as another contractor wrapped up construction of the Founders pavilion at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP). The success of that fast-track effort led to more projects, which ultimately evolved into a regular partnership on projects across several Penn Medicine hospitals.
At first we were renting temporary space near HUP, but as we became integrated with their facilities department, they provided us with some space in their building,” says Raymond McDonald, general superintendent for healthcare at LF Driscoll. “We’ve been holding our weekly coordination meeting there every Wednesday since 1990.”
In those 30-plus years, LF Driscoll, Penn Medicine, and their regular team of design, subcontractor, and consultant partners have helped enhance and expand Penn Medicine facilities in both small and large ways. Their over 945 Department of Health-approved projects together at HUP alone span everything from elevator door replacements, to CT scan installations, to a new MRI building, not to mention supporting the PennFirst team (which LF Driscoll is part of) as they build the adjacent, $1.5B Penn Pavilion tower.
“A job of $60,000 has all the same requirements and attention as a $1B project. That’s important to us and Penn Medicine,” says Charles Steiner, LF Driscoll project director. “Because we’ve worked together so many times before and know each other’s strengths, we can get started on jobs faster and more efficiently.”
That institutional knowledge has proved to be invaluable in responding quickly to emergencies and solving challenges during new projects. For example, when Penn Medicine was preparing to renovate a patient area of the Silverstein Building in HUP, the LF Driscoll team
was able to offer history of conditions from other projects that helped inform the planning and design of the upcoming renovation.
“We were able to point out some floor slab cracking conditions between columns, perimeter fire-safing requirements, design standard deviations, and other issues ahead of time so they could work those repairs into the bids. That way they didn’t come as a surprise or lead to change orders later,” says Steiner. “The selected design team hadn’t worked in the building before so they wouldn’t have known.”
Similarly, when the PennFirst team had to redesign a bridge connection from the pavilion to HUP West due to a height requirement change, they came to Ray McDonald to tap into his long-time understanding of the building’s composition. McDonald was able to point out some discrepancies in the building documentation that ruled out certain design alternatives. “The first two floors of HUP are not original to the building, so there is a transfer beam there now that wasn’t documented,” he says. “One of the bridge options would have basically had the ceiling only 1.5in from that beam, which wouldn’t have worked.”
That kind of sharing and learning goes both ways. LF Driscoll has become a leading healthcare contractor in large part due to lessons learned in decades of building Penn Medicine facilities. With help from Penn Medicine and project partners, LF Driscoll developed their industry-leading ICRA plan, their Healthcare Center of Excellence program, and other best practices that have benefited all involved.
HUP was also the first construction site in the City of Philadelphia to obtain OSHA “STAR VPP” Voluntary Protection Program status in 2005, which was recertified through 2025. At HUP, LF Driscoll developed the Safety 360⁰ program that is now standard practice throughout the STO Building Group. In essence, the teams working on these projects have accumulated a lifetime’s worth of healthcare understanding.
“Medical knowledge has been an amazing byproduct of what we do,” says McDonald. “How many construction professionals can tell you how proton therapy works?” As all healthcare institutions must, Penn Medicine continues upgrading and building new facilities to ensure their patients receive leading-edge care. And LF Driscoll is ready and able to continue helping them achieve that goal, with several large and small projects in the works.
“We are uniquely qualified at this point,” says Steiner. “We’ve developed a true team mentality with shared goals and we challenge each other to be better together.”
- Backfill renovations at Founders, Rhoads and Perelman buildings
- Silverstein 2nd floor renovation
- Founders MRI building
- Silverstein cooling tower
- Substation upgrade
- Campus arc flash protection
- Global pneumatic tube system installation
- Roof replacements
- Façade restorations
- Founders preheat glycol pumps
- Silverstein 1 bed management
- Perelman CT and SPECT CT scanner replacements
- Rhoads and Ravdin elevator restoration
- Silverstein 1 Guest Relations
- Smilow 1 UPS Pharmacy
- Smilow 8 Vector Production
- Supporting bridge connections to new Patient Pavilion
- 945 DOH-approved projects with no failures
- 2.5 million “labor days”
- 55,500 campus utility shutdowns
- 25 active projects