Getting Hospitals to Bite on Your Bid

A new fire protection system was one of the many things Phoenix Children’s Hospital required when it decided to expand and renovate its campus. Detection Logic Arizona was able to win the bid because of its experience and clever system design.

The importance of fire/life safety in health-care facilities is paramount given the vulnerability and diversity of their occupants.

With that in mind, hospital administrators have the daunting task of not only providing the proper health care to patients, but they must also be compliant with the numerous health safety and building regulations to keep patients, staff and visitors safe. Proper planning must also be considered if the facility is undergoing construction or renovations. With such a major responsibility, it’s no wonder they take the task of finding the right integrator to install the appropriate systems in the hospital so seriously.

Although a low bid may look appealing, especially as the economy struggles to get itself back on track, in most cases that simply isn’t enough for a hospital to take you up on your offer. So how can you get a hospital to bite on your bid? A case history of Phoenix Children’s Hospital (PCH) illustrates how one company was able to make it happen.

Renovation Requires Fire System

As one of the 10 largest children’s hospitals in the nation, PCH covers more than 40 pediatric specialties and has one of the most important duties of providing health care to ailing children across Arizona.

In 2008, the 26-year-old hospital began a $588 million expansion and renovation of its facility to meet the pediatric bed needs and health services requirements in order to respond to the demands of the rapidly increasing metro Phoenix population base. With 345 licensed beds, the facility hopes to increase the number to 626 by 2012.

As part of the renovation, the campus plans will feature a new 685,000-square-foot, 11-story patient tower, three new parking structures with roughly 1,750 additional parking spaces, a covered playground for patients and their siblings and an 18-unit Ronald McDonald House to provide housing for patients’ families. In addition, the entire build-out will be supported by a new 30,000-square-foot, two-level central energy plant and logistics building.

PCH will be the largest freestanding children’s hospital in the nation once all the renovations are completed.

Of course, with such a large project, installing the latest, most advanced fire protection for the renovated and new structures is a must. It’s not an easy feat given the new technology has to be integrated with the hospital’s current systems in order to create a single, cohesive solution.

Experience Helps Win the Bid

Fittingly, the process for choosing the fire system supplier was very demanding. For a company to win the job, it needed to provide the proper credentials, the right product offering and the ability to support the system should problems arise in the future. With that in mind, hospital officials sought out the best candidate for the job.

In March 2008, the hospital sent out the fire alarm request for qualifications (RFQ), which consisted of a general overview of the project and a proposed project schedule, to several vendors representing each of the three fire system manufacturers approved for the project.

Key information in the RFQ included company size, engineering/staff qualifications, completed hospital and/or similar projects, and a project backlog through the proposed PCH project schedule. The project management team then winnowed the list down to three vendors based on the candidates’ responses to the RFQ. Each of the vendors represented one of the approved manufacturers.

With its extensive experience in installing fire systems for large applications, including hospitals, PCH chose Detection Logic Arizona of Phoenix, a UTC Fire & Security company, to represent approved manufacturer NOTIFIER by Honeywell.

It’s All in the System Design

But experience wasn’t the only factor that helped Detection Logic earn the contract; rather, the company’s system design proposal was the key differentiator. The winning submittal had to demonstrate that the design and product selection could best meet all the challenging technology and performance requirements of PCH while keeping the system, installation and ongoing operational costs down.

Detection Logic was required to integrate any proposed NOTIFIER technology with the hospital’s existing Edwards System Technology (EST) fire system. To blend the systems, the company proposed connecting each panel through San Jose, Calif.-based Echelon Corp.‘s fiber-optic network to a NOTIFIER ONYXWorks workstation in a UL864-Listed configuration.

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