For Duke Medicine, Balfour Beatty is Just What the Doctor Ordered
As Duke University creates a legacy as an outstanding medical facility, Balfour Beatty develops a legendary partnership.
For the past fourteen years, Balfour Beatty has maintained a highly collaborative relationship with the Duke University Medical Center, an institution that is perhaps even more renowned for its pioneering medical center than Duke University is for its basketball team. Balfour Beatty has partnered with the medical center on more than fifty projects valued over $175 million, ranging between jobs as small in scope as an enclosed elevated walkway to large, multi-million-dollar research labs. To ensure it possesses the most cutting-edge technology and is equipped to conduct revolutionary research, Duke University Medical Center must continuously undergo renovations to its campus, often updating numerous facilities simultaneously.
At times, Balfour Beatty has overseen two or three projects concurrently across this vast and active campus, requiring management of multiple teams and accountability for a broader scope of operations. In these complex situations, an established understanding between owner and general contractor is invaluable. “Duke has a high level of confidence in us,” affirms Operations Director, Shelly Goodwin, who was instrumental in establishing Balfour Beatty’s reputation as a trusted building partner with this valued client. “Duke knows they can come to us when they are faced with a tight schedule or detailed scenario,” adds Project Manager Matthew Teele. “We know who to talk to when faced with a challenge, whether that’s an executive within the Facility Planning, Design and Construction department or a zone mechanic with Duke Engineering & Operations. Having those established relationships means we can immediately reach the people we need and continue progressing smoothly.”
To achieve such a high level of trust, Balfour Beatty has expertly navigated situations often unique to healthcare construction and hospital settings, such as adapting to fast-tracked schedules, installing copper shielding in MRI rooms and creating safe storage rooms for radioactive materials—all practices that lead to successful project execution. Due to sanitary regulations and patient sensitivity, Balfour Beatty ensures every occurrence of dust or use of noise-producing machinery is approved before work commences and actively monitors these issues throughout construction. Checklists of daily requisites are completed, air quality tests are conducted and lunch breaks are adjusted to ensure child patients have quiet nap time. Through every addition and renovation, Duke University Medical Center’s focus centers on the well-being of their patients, and Balfour Beatty teams make it their top priority as well.
Although these compressed schedules and demanding regulations require enhanced planning and communication, our teams are thoroughly invested in and committed to the mission of Duke University Medical Center, knowing its wide-reaching impact on the local community. That impact has become deeply personal to our teammates. Senior Superintendent, Bill Clark, recalls when children in a recovery wing painted a mural on the side of a temporary wall Balfour Beatty raised during construction, remembering not only the amusement in the children’s faces but also comprehending the magnitude of the team’s work. “When we see nurses wheeling patients who’ve had chemotherapy or heart transplants right next to our jobsite, it makes us realize that what we’re building now is going to affect change in people’s lives,” elaborates Bill. “We’re building more than just buildings.”
Through the past decade and a half, Balfour Beatty has been a proud partner to Duke University Medical Center in bringing care and hope to a community and successful project execution to a valued client.