10 Ways to Save Money on Hospital Construction or Renovation

A closeup of a desk with a construction hat, a computer, and notebooks

Renovating or constructing a hospital is a costly undertaking. With average new hospital construction costs ranging from $400 to $1200 per square foot, a growing number of hospital owners are opting to renovate or remodel their existing facilities. Renovation costs tend to be much more affordable, even with high-end renovations exceeding $250 to $300 per square foot. Fortunately, there are many ways that you can stretch your budget without sacrificing the quality of patient care that your hospital provides. Below are ten low-tech ways to save money on construction or renovation projects.

1) Conduct a complete inventory of your facility

The first step to take as you prepare for your low-cost hospital construction or renovation project is to take a complete physical inventory of every piece of equipment and furniture that you already have on hand. This means checking all of the following areas for unused furnishings and equipment:

  • Onsite storage areas
  • Closets and nooks
  • Unused areas of the hospital
  • Offsite storage facilities

Once you have a list of every piece of equipment and furniture you have, highlight the pieces that are functional but not currently in use. Many people are surprised to find fully functioning pieces of equipment and gently used furnishings that can be sterilized and used moving forward.

2) Sell any unwanted furnishings or equipment

One of the best ways to expand your budget is to sell any equipment or furnishings that you no longer use. For instance, if you are renovating your existing hospital to focus exclusively on adult and pediatric patients, then you can sell any incubators or infant warmers that you have on hand. Likewise, if you are converting your lighting to LED technology, then you can sell your old halogen lights to a reseller of secondhand equipment. You can then apply the profit to any new purchases.

3) Install new colorful pads or upholstery on existing exam tables and chairs

You can transform a drab examination table or procedure chair quickly and affordably by simply replacing the upholstery or pads. Replacing the upholstery on an exam table or procedure chair costs roughly 5%-10% of the cost of a new table or chair, enabling you to give your examination and procedure rooms a colorful facelift at an affordable price.

4) Reuse existing furnishings

One of the easiest ways to maximize your hospital construction budget is to reuse existing furnishings that are in good condition. Review the inventory list you prepared and identify any gently used furnishings that can be “reintroduced” to your new or renovated facility. Examples of existing furnishings that can easily be cleaned and reused include the following:

  • Wastebaskets
  • Bedside tables
  • Overbed tables
  • Mobile carts

5) Make sure to track any new medical equipment purchases

A person wearing latex gloves places a sample case under a microscope

The most efficient way to track your equipment purchases is to invest in dependable capital equipment planning software. Whether you decide to renovate an existing hospital or initiate new construction, streamlining the equipment planning process is important. With the proper capital equipment planning software, you can track your equipment lists and monitor your budget from a single centralized location.

6) Invest in a stainless steel buffing machine

Few things will make your hospital look more dated than stainless steel hospital furnishings that are scratched or dented. Fortunately, many of these scratches or dents can be erased or minimized with a stainless steel buffing machine. You can purchase a new stainless steel buffing device for a few hundred dollars or invest in a pre-owned model for under $100. Here are some of the many pieces of equipment that you can cosmetically restore with a buffing machine:

  • Surgical tables
  • Back tables and instrument tables
  • Instrument storage cabinets
  • Mobile carts and trays


7) Mount equipment to mobile stands or railings

Mounting monitors and infusion pumps to mobile stands or railings saves time and money for hospitals. The cost of wall brackets with mounting plates can range from $200 to $500, and the cost of labor to install the brackets can drive the total price up even further. Mounting monitors and pumps to railings, IV poles, or mobile stands during hospital construction eliminates these labor costs; plus, durable railings and stands can be found for under $100 each.

8) Replace cases and faceplates on worn but fully-functioning devices

You can give existing equipment an affordable facelift by replacing the faceplate and applying a new coat of medical grade paint to the equipment’s protective case. One way to do this is to enlist the services of a medical equipment refurbishing company that has a professional paint booth onsite. Just make sure that the company you choose is registered with the FDA and uses medical grade paint. Here are a few examples of devices that you can restore with new faceplates and paint:

  • Electro-surgical units
  • Ventilators
  • Patient monitors

9) Consider refurbished or remanufactured equipment

Opting to purchase refurbished or remanufactured medical equipment can help you enjoy savings of 30% to 70% on your capital equipment purchases. The top refurbishing equipment companies are registered with the FDA and include a one-year warranty with all of their product offerings. They conduct a thorough inspection of the equipment and test each device to ensure that the equipment meets the specifications set by the original manufacturer. If you are considering the purchase of refurbished equipment, make sure you carefully explore prospective companies and request references from other hospital systems in your area.

10) Consider reusable equipment accessories

While reusable equipment accessories might be more costly than disposable accessories at the point of purchase, the long-term savings can be significant. For instance, reusable laryngoscope blades and electro-surgical grounding plates might cost ten to twenty times as much as a disposable blade or pad. However, you have covered the increased cost after twenty cases, resulting in substantial long-term savings after that point. As is always the case with any reusable equipment, make sure you adhere to the sterilization procedures recommended by the manufacturer and hospital guidelines.

The Bottom Line for Hospital Construction

Renovating or introducing an addition to your existing hospital does not have to exhaust your budget. By restoring existing equipment, using innovative mounting solutions, and considering alternative equipment solutions, you can significantly reduce your expenditures and equip a first-rate healthcare facility at an affordable price.

The Attainia Team
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The Attainia Team