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Real estate for the healthcare FM professional

Here at Gosselin/Martin Associates we write in our blogs and speak in our High Reliability podcasts about the ever-evolving and changing role of the healthcare facility management professional. 

One of those areas of increasing responsibility is real estate. Once given to the facilities department to manage because the thought was, not always accurately, a building is a building, it is now understood that there are many elements to manage a real estate program efficiently. 

Some of the skills necessary can exist beyond the traditional skillset found in healthcare facility management professionals. This is not meant as a criticism of FM, but an acknowledgment that real estate can be complex and time-consuming. Real estate is about much more than a building is a building.

In our latest High Reliability podcast, we speak with Brandon Bardowsky, Vice President of Facilities, Design & Construction at Inspira Health, headquartered in New Jersey.  In the podcast, Brandon talks about the challenges of managing a real estate program. A small selection of his comments are excerpted below, much more is found in High Reliability, Real Estate for the Healthcare Facility Management Professional:

So now you have real estate accountability; what do you do? 

1) First thing I would do is find a good Land Use attorney, that is step 1. If I don’t know real estate that well, then I am not equipped to make decisions with people who are experts in the (real estate) field. I need to find that (Land Use) attorney, and trust them and rely on them. Put them on retainer so they are accessible to you when you need them.  

2) Be cautious in trusting any one developer. They are driven to make money, and that does not make them bad people, but they have high margins and are skilled in negotiating. Walk cautiously in assessing deals and study the transaction, rather than jumping in feet first (to sign a deal). 

It’s a common FM trait, get things done quickly. You have 100 things in front of you and want to get that list down by 99, but you need to understand that real estate transactions are slower and more deliberate (than projects in facilities management).  

3) Brokers are motivated to close deals and you need to understand that their lense is to close the deal so they can make a living. A developer is often slower and deliberate, they have to deliver and their money comes on the backend of the deal. 

Understand that different people have different speeds to get things done (like the broker and the developer). There are different phases in a real estate transaction, like you would find in a construction project. Understand the (real estate) process.  

4) Find people you trust. Having relationships is important. Look around the market (your local market)  and meet people, have lunch with them, get to know them. That is an important activity.   

On being politically savvy 

I think different projects require different levels of political influence. Doing a $425 million project on 100 acres of farmland requires different levels of conversations, some of those conversations at a high level. Some facility leaders have the innate ability to have these conversations. Others have to learn to have conversations.

Being able to survive in the pool (of real estate) is important. Don’t hurt people’s feelings, but don’t be afraid to engage in conversations that move projects forward while treating people with respect. That is probably the biggest thing, treat people with respect.  

G/MA Nuggets

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