Drone image of a location with utility lines drawn around a potential build site



Picture this: You planned to build a new facility in the Midwest, and there was a lot to consider—budget, design, builder, equipment, employees. After completing what you thought was a thorough plan, you chose your site and hired an architect. But before they could put pen to paper, you found out you hadn’t planned for everything.

As it turns out, the location has a few issues. There will be unforeseen costs associated with running utilities to your new location and significant site work will be required to direct water away from your future building. This will delay your schedule and put your project over budget. How could this have been avoided?

Where do you start?

Your commercial real estate broker can help with early site selection, but there are levels of due diligence for which you’ll need additional partners. Most design-build and construction management companies do not provide this service in house, but Hutton does.

The upfront site selection resources that Hutton provides have helped save several clients from these costly scenarios. Running utilities and completing site work are common expenses to consider, but they’re not the only ones. Hutton can identify potential issues before construction begins with their due diligence processes. Whether it’s determining hazards beneath the site, doing a geotechnical report on the quality of the earth, or talking to experts about potential endangered species on the land, Hutton has a process to help you select the best site for your business.

Site selection is only part of the planning phase, though. Having all this information is only helpful to you if you understand the costs associated with the site. Hutton performs this cost analysis as well.

Once Hutton analyzes multiple sites, we crunch the numbers. How much would it cost to run utilities on site one? How long will sitework delay the project schedule on site three? You will surely have questions, and your Hutton project partner has the answers. That way, before you even start your project, you have the confidence of knowing you have all the information you need to make well-informed decisions.

How it works:

In late Spring of 2020, Brooke Bollman, CEO of Sumner County Hospital, began touring hospitals in her area, attempting to gain some insight before building her own new hospital. She knew they needed more space for their existing services, but she also wanted to make sure there was room to grow. The first question she asked was “where?”

“We had a vision, but we still needed a lot of assistance. It’s not very often that you build a $22 million facility, right?” said Bollman, recounting the process of finding a location. “We picked [hospital administrators’] brains about the architect and construction teams they worked with. It seemed like the trend was really Hutton.”

Spencer Levin, Pre-Construction Leader at Hutton, got a call shortly after Bollman’s hospital visits. Bollman continued, “Spencer jumped right in and said, ‘Okay, we’ll come down and take a look at what you’ve got.’”

After sharing seven different locations with the Hutton team, Levin joined them on one of the sites. Looking at utilities from each location’s specific area of town, he was able to determine the utility cost advantages of each site.

“He talked us through all those things. We didn’t ask Spencer to do this, he just said ‘Hey, I know cost is going to be a factor in this’ and he went out on his own and reached out to the City. He ran the numbers for running water, for gas lines and for electric. They were able to get a map for each of those lines,” said Bollman.

What’s the advantage?

There’s a built-in advantage to working with a design-build team with the in-house capability of site selection. The team helping to choose the site’s location can work directly with the architect who designs it, and together they collaborate with the construction team who will build it. At Hutton, this all happens under one roof. Throughout this process, Hutton team members discuss the minutia of the project without missing a beat.

In another example, Hutton’s team evaluated a site for a Hutton-design project, and they discovered something—an abandoned water well below the surface of the site’s foundation. That’s something that can’t be built on top of, it must be built around. Because Hutton’s design-build and survey teams are on the same team, that information was quickly relayed to the project architect. Our architect redesigned the entire building around the water well without unnecessarily holding up the project schedule. This saved time, money and a lot of headaches.

“Hutton sees the entire picture. Not just with environmental, civil and utilities. We can see the whole picture with our architects from the get-go,” Spencer Levin explained.

Everything in one place.

Hutton can put together all the pieces without you spending too much of your time in the nitty gritty. And that’s what the Hutton team did for Brooke Bollman and the Sumner County Hospital.

After providing a map of what the utilities would cost at each location, “We took the seven sites and we narrowed it down to three,” said Bollman.

All this up-front work from Hutton gave the hospital complete confidence in their final choice—a site where their hospital is currently being built. By February 2023, Sumner County Hospital will move into their new building, confident that they made the best possible choice for future growth and minimized costs.

Sumner County Hospital breaks ground on their new hospital location
Sumner County Hospital broke ground on their new hospital facility in 2021, on the site Hutton helped pick.

“It was just awesome to have those resources and for Spencer and his team to take the time to reach out to the City [for costs],” said Bollman. “Now that we’ve started the project, I think anyone on our team—board, staff, community—who has had the opportunity to meet with them would agree, of all the decisions we have made on our project, Hutton has been the best.”

Find your where.

When it comes time to expand or relocate, remember to ask the location question. You can’t choose the location without seeing the whole picture, so find a team that knows how to put it together for you. Finding your where is not just the first step of every project—it could be the most important step in the process.

Thank you for reading

For more information, please get in contact with Brandon Brungardt at 316.942.8855.