In the fast-paced world of healthcare construction, a contractor’s role is constantly evolving. From building partner to collaborator to innovator, healthcare contractors wear a variety of hats—especially when the project pushes the envelope. This is the case for LF Driscoll and the strategic role the company plays in supporting expansion projects for the University of Pennsylvania Health System’s West Philadelphia campus.

In 2022, following intensive research efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic, the health system adjusted its original plans for expansion to expedite the delivery of additional state-of-the-art research and laboratory space. The goal was to complete the design and construction of the 217,000-sq-ft, eight-floor, vertical expansion in just three years. Penn Medicine again chose to work with longtime partners, LF Driscoll, the Penn Medicine Pavilion contractor and Perkins&Will, the architect of the original building. The project’s delivery hinged on an innovative “light” version of integrated project delivery (IPD)—a collaborative design and construction approach that facilitated more efficient communication, decision-making, and ultimately, the completion of the $360-million expansion project.

The success of the IPD and IPD light approaches demonstrates the construction industry’s ability to work more collaboratively than ever before. On top of accelerating the project’s timeline, the IPD light approach fostered an environment of mutual trust and respect among all project stakeholders. 

Unfinished Penn Medicine building with scaffolding and construction equipment.
The team used a “light” version of IPD to deliver the $360M, eight-floor, 217,000sf overbuild expansion.

Without the confines of the traditional project structure and processes, LF Driscoll was able to take on a more strategic approach to Penn Medicine’s vertical expansion, from streamlining constructability assessments to navigating supply chain challenges. The contractor’s role is changing, and LF Driscoll is leading the way.