Business Profile: Beckenhauer Construction
By Alex Strauss
When Norfolk, Nebraska-based Beckenhauer Construction was established in 1878, hospitals and health clinics in the Great Plains were few and far between, even given the area’s small population.
By the early 1950’s, when Beckenhauer was called upon to help build some of the region’s first hospitals, the company’s leaders could see the writing on the wall; healthcare construction in the Plains states had nowhere to go but up.
Today, more than 130 years later, both the population and the healthcare infrastructure that serves it, have exploded. Beckenhauer CEO Buster Beckenhauer says healthcare projects now make up 75 percent of the company’s business. And that is just the way they like it.
“We have to keep up with what’s changing in the industry because healthcare trends and the needs of our healthcare customers are constantly changing,” says Beckenhauer whose firm is part of a nationwide association of companies that specialize in healthcare construction.
In addition to attending conventions and seminars on healthcare construction, Beckenhauer says the team often makes site visits to larger medical centers - like the prestigious Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston - in a continual effort to stay on the cutting edge of medical facility design and building.
“We have learned a lot, for instance, from the Texas Children’s Hospital, including new ideas
about how we do infection control and negative air monitoring which we can then share with clients who need help in this area,” says Beckenhauer. “Anytime we can learn how to do things better and faster, it not only helps us as a company, but it helps our healthcare clients.”
In most of their healthcare projects, the company prefers to take on the role of construction manager or design/build contractor, which Beckenhauer says allows them to lend their expertise to a building or renovation project from the very beginning.
“A lot of the success of a project comes down to the planning and sequencing of each subcontractor’s part,” says Beckenhauer. “This is especially true in healthcare where you often have to maintain and monitor the safety of the environment in the facility while the project is going on.”
Utilizing leading edge LEAN Design principles for streamlined construction scheduling, Beckenhauer says the company has been able to cut the timeline for most projects by 20% or more. saving customers not only time but money. The technique is proving its value in a recent $16 million dollar library renovation project at Wayne State University, where it had to be “business as usual” for students during construction.
“In hospitals, our philosophy is to be invisible and to get done as quickly as possible while
maintaining safety for everyone by monitoring and validating what we are doing in terms of infection control and negative air monitoring,” says Beckenhauer.
Although Beckenhauer Construction has many repeat customers across Nebraska, the company’s next goal is to expand its presence in the South Dakota region with an office in Yankton. They are already making inroads in Burke, South Dakota - one of many rural towns with an aging hospital - where they are in talks to develop what Beckenhauer says may be a sort of “super clinic”.