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Owner UIH ASC Development, LLC
Architect Shive Hattery, Inc
Developer Ankura

Unconventional Collaborations

When UI Health was making a large investment in expanding outpatient care, they knew they needed a partner as robustly invested in the outcome. The project required a collaborative
approach beyond what the traditional procurement method could provide.

Pepper and our long-standing minority joint-venture partner, Brown & Momen, teamed with healthcare developer Ankura to present the complete portfolio of expertise that would maximize efficiency, strengthen collaboration and secure the quality the client expected. As a public-private partnership (P3), the collaboration created the ideal setting for Pepper to provide a game-changing advantage for the client.


The clinical building houses six floors of outpatient care: eight operating and eight procedure rooms, 48 pre- and post-surgery bays, clinic space for gastrointestinal, ophthalmology, otolaryngology, transplant and urology clinics, in addition to a pharmacy, MRI and PET/CT imaging departments.

In a typical state procurement approach, clients don’t have the opportunity to tap into contractor knowledge and collaboration during the design phase. Capitalizing on the advantages of early onboarding, Pepper | Brown & Momen paid proactive attention to applying construction knowledge to planning, design, procurement and field investigation.

“By the time designs are ready for review, it can be too late to make changes without drawbacks,” says Dan. “If changes are made, they’re costly. Our goal is to avoid delays and costs to benefit the client.”

P3_UI Health




To hit that mark, constructability was a component of planning in all phases. Pepper | Brown & Momen brought construction expertise and jointly participated with other stakeholders in brainstorming concepts and approaches before these were committed to drawings. This meant the team could identify challenges in advance, with multiple perspectives.

Pepper | Brown & Momen was able to identify concealed underground constraints using 3D modelling in tandem with our underground utility damage prevention program (UUDP), a standard for our projects. Knowing the impact these challenges would have on the project's progress, the team preemptively advised the design crew on how to navigate them – before the designs were complete. The upshot of this active foresight? Countless dollars, time and maybe even lives saved in avoiding the waste of redesigns, change orders, and potential safety hazards typically seen with the traditional approach.

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Taking another uncommon turn, this time on an all-too-common industry issue of cost overruns, the team succeeded in developing a comprehensive budget based on incomplete information. “It requires imagination to envision what should be in drawings that are only partially finished, and the nuances are complex on a job like this one,” says Dan. “We deliberately stepped out of the vacuum of guesswork and asked probing questions that are typically not asked to the same degree.”

Digging deeper in discussions with the architect ensured that the drawings sent out yielded market pricing that accurately reflected the scope intent without having to wait months for the design to be completed. Underpinning this feat is the culture the team worked hard to put in place to facilitate knowledge sharing and encourage a best-for-the-project consensus approach.


The project likewise stepped up to clear one of the industry’s more pernicious hurdles: low transparency. Pepper | Brown & Momen created space for maintaining open communication with the client on costs and timing, which allowed the team to accommodate scope enhancements without delay to the schedule and UI Health to have better control of the budget. Making the efficient, on-point sharing of information across stakeholders the foundation for our collaboration, Pepper | Brown & Momen was the construction team that the client always wished they had – engaging early, finishing on time and controlling the scope of the budget.

UIH may be the first state-run health system in Illinois doing a P3 for a healthcare facility, and Pepper | Brown & Momen is proving a twist on the conventional model sparks opportunity to build better to benefit the client vision, the community that depends on realizing that vision, and the industry at the helm of delivery.