The headline “World War II bunker found at Dover Hospital site” popped up in my Google alerts today. And, sure enough, as it seems to happen fairly regularly, especially in places like England with hundreds of years of history on top of ours here in the U.S., a construction site yielded an intriguing find.

I always love these stories (remember the 17th century witch’s cottage unearthed on a construction site in Lancaster, England, a couple years ago?).

In the case of Dover Hospital, the massive bunker (as well as prehistoric flints) were discovered—resulting in an interesting news item for me, but for the project team, it’s meant a two-month delay in construction.

And while unexpected site challenges here in the States might not always require the local archaeologist to be called out, we certainly have our share.

Among the projects reviewed for Healthcare Design’s Architectural and Interior Design Showcase this year was a great story of an MOB being constructed on a tight urban site where there also happened to be a massive 130-plus-year-old tree. The solution was not only to create a site plan that preserved the tree, but a park-like setting was designed around it and a tree theme was woven throughout the building.

In another project reviewed, the site was strewn with birch trees that required careful planning; and for those that had to be harvested, they were reused as design elements inside.

However, other challenges aren’t so easily seen.

In “BIM Digs Deep To Provide Savings for UNCH Project,” senior editor Anne DiNardo shares how Skanska used BIM on a University of North Carolina Hospital project to identify massive amounts of trench rock underground that would need to be excavated in order to route utilities as originally designed. Instead, the model allowed the team to change plans and save plenty on excavation costs.

And coming up in September, our Green column will explore Kaiser Permanente’s renovation of a former Circuit City location, where opening up the building shell yielded the unexpected surprise of asbestos-containing Vermiculite, a material that was illegal to use when the building was constructed. To bring the building up to code, the asbestos had to be abated. But it also meant the team achieved its original goal of creating a sustainable space.

Unexpected challenges often put the pause button on projects and require team members to think on their toes—especially if it means possible schedule delays or added costs.

What kinds of site issues have you discovered on your projects? Any interesting finds to share or unique approaches to making it work?