In September 2015, the blog “Union Village: Introducing a First” examined the design phase of what’s being called the largest healthcare project in the world, the Union Village health village in Henderson, Nev.

The project involves the use of integrated project delivery (IPD) and target value design as well as Lean concepts. Building trust rapidly among partners has been one of many lessons that’s emerged from the project so far. Similarly, a project of this size must also rely on strong relationships with its local community.

When Universal Health Services (UHS), Valley Health System, and the project’s IPD team began work on the UHS Henderson Hospital (the 142-bed acute care hospital is the first phase of the healthcare piece of the village), the team developed the project’s conditions of satisfaction to determine the unified criteria that would be used to measure success. A prominent theme within the conditions highlighted the importance of implementing innovative ways to include the city of Henderson and the community in both the design and construction of the project. This was critical to ensure all parties were on board and involved throughout the work.

As an introduction to the community, the Henderson Hospital team registered to compete in the city of Las Vegas Corporate Challenge, an event that brings together companies and the community to raise money for charity. Over the 12-week period, relationships were built and trust was forged. This productive, philanthropic effort proved to be an ideal introduction between the hospital and Henderson.

Next, when conceptual plans began to develop for the hospital, the team engaged the city’s planning and building department. A biweekly meeting was scheduled between the city and the IPD team to discuss the progression of design and planning, and to also gain input from members of the community. This process helped to create a sense of inclusion, demonstrating that the city was an integral part of the project and nurtured a working relationship.

As design wrapped up and construction began around August 2015, the team continued to involve the city as a true partner, inviting leaders to participate in subsequent major milestones. City planners joined weekly Lean/IPD “big room” meetings, and the IPD team hosted a series of ceremonies including the ground breaking, the first pouring of concrete in the building, and setting the last piece of structural steel in place. Prominent city officials attended each event and provided positive feedback on, for example, opportunities the project presented for job creation within the city.

The team also invited construction management students from the University of Nevada Las Vegas to tour the job site and explained each aspect of the project and how it was designed and being installed. The students make up a significant portion of the Henderson community, so it was important to the team to engage them and the university, offering education on the Lean IPD process as well as the design and construction industry.

Overall, the process shed light on the importance of involving the local authority having jurisdiction (AHJ) as early and as often as possible. The more the AHJ can be part of the process, the easier it is to acquire permits, secure inspections, and get the certificate of occupancy during construction. This helps the AHJ become more familiar with all aspects of the project early on and allows the team to collaborate with its expectations.

Additionally, it’s always good to introduce yourself to a project’s local community at the start. Let residents know who you are, what you’re doing, and how long it will take. Businesses and residents alike will appreciate knowing what the next months and years will hold for their neighborhood in terms of how a hospital project will affect it, and reaching out may just identify ways that the community can offer its own help.

This post is part of an ongoing blog series that will feature various stages of the design and construction of the Union Village health village. Additional posts contributed from Southland Industries and other project partners will highlight aspects of community relations, perspectives from the field, conditions of satisfaction, and much more.

George Vangelatos is a design director and principal at HMC Architects. He can be reached at

For other blogs in this series, see the following: