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How Much Does It Cost to Build a Hospital?

Low
$52.5M
Average Cost
$112.5M
High
$210M
(120-bed general hospital with ER and maternity ward)

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How Much Does It Cost to Build a Hospital?

Low
$52.5M
Average Cost
$112.5M
High
$210M
(120-bed general hospital with ER and maternity ward)

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Healthcare is an important part of any society, and one of the essential pieces of a good healthcare network is the hospital. It is a place where people can be treated and released for emergencies, cared for long term, or scheduled for emergency and outpatient procedures.

Hospitals come in many forms, in terms of size, shape, and location, and what the overall goal of the hospital is and who they plan to treat. Because of these factors, there is an incredibly wide range of associated costs with building a hospital. The average hospital needs roughly 2,500sq.ft. per bed, which makes a 120-bed hospital roughly 300,000sq.ft. This translates to a total cost of between $60,000,000 and $187,500,000 for the national average. Most cities constructing a non-teaching, non-trauma based hospital spend around $112,500,000 on building a new hospital, including administrative areas, operating and emergency rooms, and space for 120 beds.

Hospital Construction Costs

Costs to build hospital
National average cost$112.5M
Average range$60M - $187.5M
Minimum cost$52.2M
Maximum cost$210M
Updated:

Build Hospital Cost by Project Range

Low
$52.5M
Outpatient/short-stay hospital facility with no trauma care or maternity ward
Average Cost
$112.5M
120-bed general hospital with ER and maternity ward
High
$210M
Teaching hospital with a trauma care center and specialty care ward


Average Hospital Construction Costs Per Square Foot

Many factors go into making up the cost per square foot of a hospital. The type of hospital can influence costs. For example, teaching hospitals need more square feet per bed than other hospitals, and trauma centers and specialty care hospitals require different equipment or more specialized spaces, which can increase costs.

The hospital location also affects total costs. Not all sites are ideal for building a hospital, which must be located on clean, level ground. Some areas also have higher construction costs, with major cities typically having a higher cost per square foot than suburban or rural areas.

The configuration of the hospital influences the costs, with larger buildings sometimes working out to a lower cost per square foot since material fees can be lower when the volume increases.

Remodeling costs for converting older buildings into hospitals have different costs per square foot. It is not uncommon for older buildings to be used as the base of a new hospital, with a combination of remodeling, conversion, and new construction costs.

On average, costs per square foot range from around $200 a square foot for conversions and hospitals in more suburban areas to $625 a square foot for new builds in urban areas. In most locations, costs average $300 to $375 a square foot for general, non-specialized hospitals in non-urban areas.

Hospital Design Costs

Designing the hospital is a multistage process involving many people and specialists. Architects, engineers, and designers make up the bulk of the project from style, design, and structural views, but they often do not know or understand the needs of the actual hospital. 

For this reason, it is becoming more commonplace for doctors and other hospital workers to collaborate on designs with architects and structural engineers to create better, more dynamic layouts. 

It is estimated that design and consulting fees for this phase of the hospital build make up roughly 15% of the total cost of the project, meaning for a 300,000-square-foot hospital, around $16,875,000 on average.

Parts of a Hospital

Hospitals can be broken down into various segments, each playing a key role in the overall function and design of the building:


Safety Standards

Safety standards make up a large part of the utilities and function of the hospital, as well as the inclusion of specific areas like electrical work and ventilation:

Electrical Work

The electricity and load that a hospital needs to carry to function safely are vital for safety standards. This includes the ability to carry 120 V, 220 V, and 380 V for high current. Lights in the hospital need to be at least 1,000 lumens in operating rooms and 500 in other areas. Electricians charge between $65 and $85 an hour, while many also price the job of wiring a building by the square foot. It is not uncommon for projects of this size to cost $3 - $4 a square foot, for a total of $900,000 to $1,200,000 in electrical work, plus the additional cost of the lights.

Ventilation

Ventilation is crucial to any hospital, with filtered air needing to enter but not exit rooms, especially in rooms where patients are held in isolation.

This includes a renewal of 15 to 20 volumes of air in one hour for each room. Operating rooms also must have hermetically sealing doors so that once shut, only the filtered air is in circulation.

Gas

Many inpatient rooms, plus operating rooms and the intensive care unit (ICU), need to have pumps for oxygen, nitrogen, vacuumed and pressured air. Automatic switches must be included, as well as the necessary power to operate them.

Sanitation

Sanitation includes the plumbing for the building, with specialized looped plumbing preferred. For each hospital bed, the plumbing must accommodate at least 110 - 120 gallons of water per day.

In addition, decontamination areas, sterilization areas, and waste management fall under this category. While there may be many workers in this area, plumbers make up the bulk, charging between $45 - $200 an hour.

Airlocks

Airlocks are an integral part of many areas in the hospital and are directly tied to the ventilation of the rooms. This includes hermetically sealing the doors between spaces for workers to change into and out of protective clothing and to clean and sterilize equipment.

Storage for Anesthesia and Medication

Storage facilities for the anesthesia and any medication need to be factored into the layout and design. They must be easily accessible and secure, as well as adequate for the number of beds. 

Also, the area the anesthesia is installed in must be completely covered in non-conductive materials, and the relative humidity of the room must be kept between 60% - 65%, requiring the addition of humidistats and controls.

Radiology

All radiology areas must be lined with lead to absorb any stray radiation. The exact thickness is dependent upon the type of equipment and that equipment’s specifications. Radiology is generally centrally located in the hospital, with equipment and furnishings making up roughly 5% of the total cost of the hospital.

Doctor with radiological chest x-ray film for medical diagnosis on patient's health

Supply Areas

Supply to the hospital takes many forms, including utilities, foods, linens, and medicine. Supply areas are generally dictated by local codes but are usually located on the north side of the hospital, if possible, with all supply areas located nearby to streamline operations. The cost of these storage areas generally works out to around $280 - $300/square foot.


Administrations

Hospitals need a section of offices and an area for administration in addition to patient treatment and care areas. Administration is generally in a separate part of the hospital from patient care but needs to be accessible from the hospital as well as from a separate entrance.

The size of the administration section of the hospital varies based on the type of hospital. For example, teaching hospitals may have a larger administration area than trauma hospitals to accommodate visiting specialists and teachers. Administration is generally less expensive to build, costing about $150 - $200 a square foot.


Functional Units

Functional units are the areas of the hospital where care is performed. They can be further broken down by the type of care. Not every hospital has the same type or number of functional units. For example, some hospitals may not have maternity wards.

Emergency Rooms

Emergency rooms are integral to many hospitals, particularly those that contain trauma centers. They are usually located in a wing of the hospital, rather than centrally located, and they need access points for ambulances, ambulatory patients, and staff. The size and layout of the emergency room vary by the size of the hospital but include areas for reception, triage, waiting rooms, treatment areas, and connections to the central area of the hospital where radiology and other services are located. Emergency rooms and patient circulation areas have a range of costs from $280 - $400 a square foot on average.

Portrait Of Female Doctor Standing Outside Hospital

Clinical Research Facilities

Not all hospitals include clinical research facilities, but teaching and research hospitals usually have these areas. They may be located near laboratories, which are generally located on the north side of the building for better light control. Testing facilities and labs are usually part of this area, but the overall size and layout vary depending on the needs and use of the area.

Surgery

While surgery can be considered one unit, it is actually broken up into several smaller units, including preoperative, postoperative, waking rooms, apparatus storage, storage and facilities for anesthesia, and the operating rooms, as well as the sanitation areas for healthcare workers. They also include waiting rooms for families and administration on occasion, and they require separate airlocks for both patients and healthcare workers. The head nurse’s office may be located here, in addition to offices and space for the other nurses and healthcare workers. Some surgeries are centrally located to provide better access to and from other areas of the hospital. Others are connected by annexes to facilitate better movement. Because of the high cost of the medical equipment, ventilation, and special lighting necessary in these areas, surgeries generally have the highest cost per square foot of the hospital, starting at $350/square foot and approaching $600/square foot for some specialty hospitals.

Inpatient Care

Inpatient care makes up a large part of most hospitals. The layout of many hospitals puts inpatient care and patient rooms in the south to southeast section of the hospital. Each room needs a bathroom, gas lines, and ventilation system, as well as storage for necessary equipment and the electrical capacity for high current use. Generally included in these areas are also nurses’ stations, waiting rooms, some administrative offices, storage for medication and other equipment, and necessary passage to radiology, surgery, and other important areas. Costs to build these areas average around $300 - $400/square foot.

Diagnostic and Treatment Functions

These areas also vary depending on the type of hospital and its function. Many are located near the emergency room, while some hospitals also have outpatient areas, intake areas for diagnostics and treatment of short-term patients, and areas for rehabilitation for longer-care patients. These areas may be located centrally or placed near inpatient areas. Because diagnostic and treatment areas incorporate many functions, they may need a variety of specialty equipment, which creates a wide range of costs from $300 a square foot in building and layout to 5% of the total cost for equipment fees.

Maternity Ward

Not all hospitals have maternity wards, but many do. This includes areas for both pre and post-birth, operating theaters, waiting rooms, nurseries, and potentially high-risk nurseries. It needs long-term beds for women waiting for birth and short-term beds for those going home within 24 hours. Some maternity wards also include birthing pools, midwife accommodations, and care teams for both mother and infant. It costs around $400 per square foot to build.


Hospitality Capacities

All hospitals include hospitality capacities, such as housekeeping, laundry, and food services, all of which require space in the building.

Food Service

Kitchens, restaurants, eating areas, and lounge areas with facilities for reheating and storing food are all part of the hospital design and layout. The size of these areas directly correlates to the type of hospital and number of beds and healthcare workers. The kitchens and larger service areas are usually located on the north side of the building but may be more centrally located in some layouts. Generally, these areas have some of the lowest building costs, starting at $100 - $125 a square foot.

Housekeeping and Laundry

Housekeeping and laundry are important parts of the hospital, helping it run smoothly and efficiently while making sure that things stay sanitary. Offices or areas for these services are usually located in the north of the building, usually near an exit for easy supply and transfer of linens.

Supply

Supply for the hospital is usually located near the north of the building, with distribution running throughout the entire hospital to specific storage areas. The hospital’s needs determine the size, layout, and use of this area.


Construction Process and Labor Costs

In many ways, the construction process for a hospital is like any build. A site is chosen and evaluated. Structural engineers assess the site, and architects and engineers draw up plans. The goal of the hospital is taken into consideration during the planning to ensure that the layout and design meet the needs.

The site is cleared and prepped to begin building, and the foundations are poured. Typically, hospitals are built using steel frames and masonry or other flame-retardant materials. Once the structure is created, the interiors are constructed, making sure that all interior walls are built using flame-retardant materials as well as finishing materials that are non-microbial whenever possible, such as linoleum flooring and brass door plates. Electrical, plumbing, and ventilation are roughed in prior to the finish work on the interior, and the exterior is finished with appropriate doors and windows.

The equipment is installed, with larger equipment brought in earlier before the interiors are finished to make the installation easier. Most finish work, such as cabinets, countertops, painting, flooring, and bathroom fixtures, are completed in the same manner as any other project. Beds, furnishings, and supplies are added last. 

Many workers are involved in the building of a hospital. Each has a different labor cost, which varies depending on the location and scope of the work. Each project includes:


  • Architects - 10% - 17% of the building budget
  • Structural engineers - $100 - $500/hour
  • Builders - $50 - $100/hour
  • General contractors - $30 - $80/hour
  • Concrete specialists - $60 - $95/hour
  • Masons - $50 - $70/hour
  • Plumbers - $45 - $200/hour
  • Electricians - $65 - $85/hour
  • HVAC specialists - $100 - $150/hour
  • Carpenters - $70/hour
  • Flooring installers - $5 - $20/square foot
  • Painters - $50/hour

In addition, you may also have other specialists whose job it is to set up the specialty equipment in the hospital and keep it stocked.

Hospital Beds

The beds are a large part of every hospital. Hospital beds are in the ER, trauma centers, in pre and post-surgical areas, and short-term and long-term inpatient areas and waking rooms. Not all beds are the same size or type. In addition, hospitals that handle infants and children also have cots, cribs, and incubators, as well as beds for children and adults. It is not uncommon for many rooms to also be furnished with additional sleeping areas, such as pull-out couches or convertible chairs, for loved ones.

Most hospitals are sized by the number of beds. It is common for hospitals to break down their total number of beds by area, and new hospitals need to allocate an amount of space specifically for patient beds, such as 590 - 810 square feet per bed. The total number of beds may be determined by how many people the hospital expects to treat each year. For example, a hospital expecting to treat 1,000 patients needs 200 beds in a general hospital, 170 beds in an emergency hospital, and 26 beds in specialty hospitals.

Empty bed in a hospital ward


Hospital Equipment Costs

Hospital equipment plays a significant part in the total cost of the building project. This equipment is specialized and often very expensive. The more specialized it is, the more each piece costs. Not every hospital requires the same amount or type of equipment. For example, hospitals in more rural areas sometimes need more equipment than hospitals in urban areas, which may specialize in an area and not require all available equipment.

A partial list of equipment published by WHO includes the following equipment for general hospitals, particularly those in rural areas:

EquipmentDescriptionAverage Costs
Resuscitation BagQuickly assist a patient who is not breathing on their own$3,500
Oxygen RegulatorHelp ensure patients receive the proper amount of oxygen during surgery $18,000
Patient TrolleyMove patients between rooms before and after surgery$27,000
X-Ray Viewer View and visualize the results from an X-ray$30,000
Instrument TableHold instruments during surgery$34,000
Analytic BalanceMeasure and contain samples in the lab$35,000
Instrument CabinetStore instruments to be used in surgery$50,000
CentrifugeSeparate substances like blood cells$65,000
Suction MachineAssist in removing liquids during surgery$70,000
Operating Theater LampProperly lighting the patient during surgery$120,000
X-Ray-Safe LightFor patient safety when taking X-rays$200,000
​Blood Bank RefrigeratorStore blood and plasma until needed$250,000
DefibrillatorShock the heart of a patient in cardiac arrest$265,000
Incubator Grow cultures in the lab $234,000
Operating Theater TableHold patients during surgery$424,000
Vital Signs MonitorUsed during surgery to make sure that the patient is stable$500,000
AutoclaveSterilize equipment before us$517,000
Ventilator (infant)Assist an infant who is unable to breathe on their own$850,000
Ventilator (adult)Assist a patient who is unable to breathe on their own$1,200,000
Anesthetic MachineProvide a steady release of anesthetic during surgery$2,650,000
Dental X-Ray MachineTake X-rays of the mouth and jaw$3,000,000
​Ultrasound MachineVisualize internal organs in a localized area$3,000,000
​Portable X-Ray MachineTake X-rays without moving the patient $4,700,000
​Mammography Unit Visualize breast tissue$6,000,000
​Standard X-Ray MachineTake X-rays of patients who are brought to radiology$8,800,000
Screening UnitHelp rule specific conditions in or out quickly$12,000,000


Many hospitals need more than one of each of these pieces of equipment, and many departments need their own equipment as well. Some pieces of equipment are included in the overall cost of the project, but many pieces are budgeted separately from the building of the hospital and are a separate cost. 

Hospital Supplies Cost

Supplies make up a large cost for hospitals each year. While they are not usually included in the cost of building the hospital, it will need to be fully supplied and stocked before the hospital can open and be operational. This includes medical supplies, doctor-preferred items, protective equipment for medical workers, office supplies, pharmaceuticals, and other miscellaneous items. Supply costs make up 15% to 40% of all hospital expenses and vary depending on the type of hospital, location, and number of beds. 

Top hospitals can spend up to $564,000,000 in supplies each year, with some hospitals spending even more.

Micro Hospitals

Micro hospitals are a new idea in medicine that creates a smaller facility designed to take some of the patient load from larger hospitals, reducing stress, and eliminating the large costs of building a new full-scale hospital. They are intended to treat 30 to 60 patients a day, often those with more complex needs than can be handled by an urgent care facility. Patients requiring more specialized care can be sent to a full-scale hospital. 

Costs to build these hospitals range considerably, depending on the type of care they provide. Since most are considered larger versions of an emergency department, it is conceivable that they could be built for the cost of around $280 - $400 a square foot. But because they require considerably less space, their costs are lower than the total cost of a full-scale hospital.

Emergency Hospitals

While a full-scale hospital can take months to build and fully equip, there are times when hospital rooms and beds are needed more urgently, such as during pandemics. In these cases, emergency hospitals may need to be built in days or weeks to help accommodate the sudden spike in patients and their need for beds.

Emergency hospitals are not necessarily built using the same materials, techniques, or finishing practices as full-scale general hospitals. Instead, they are designed to be makeshift buildings, often constructed out of prefabricated compartments, such as shipping containers. Some may also use ICF blocks and other materials that can go up faster than traditional stick builds. These hospitals are not meant to be used long term, may have safety concerns, and do not usually have operating theaters, long-term care, or services that a full-scale hospital offers. 

These hospitals are rare and have not been built in the U.S. If built from shipping containers that have estimated costs of roughly half the cost to build homes and other buildings, they could conceivably be used to construct a similarly sized hospital for about half the average cost, or around $600,000 for a 300,000-square-foot hospital. If less space is needed, the costs would be lower.

Resilience

When discussing resiliency in hospitals, there are two separate considerations to make - resiliency from outside factors, such as natural disasters, and internal resiliency, such as how well a hospital can handle a massive influx of patients like during a pandemic.

When constructing a hospital, care needs to be taken when considering the area and its climate. For example, hospitals built in regions that are prone to storms and flooding should put emergency generators on the roof or higher floor and position the important sections of the hospital during an emergency in higher areas. Hospitals constructed in locations prone to earthquakes, such as California, should be built to specifications and local building codes to reinforce them and ensure that they sustain as little damage as possible so that they can continue care.

In addition, hospitals need to consider their ability to adapt to sudden increases in care. For example, most hospitals are encouraged to have empty lots nearby in case they need to expand or build an additional wing. Paying close attention to the layout of the building to provide fast and efficient access is one way to ensure that care can be provided during high demand.

Future Technologies

Medical facilities and hospitals need to stay on the cutting edge of technology to do their jobs properly. Advancements are being made all the time, which means that the hospital needs to be flexible enough to update and change when needed.

This may be why many older hospitals are renovated, with new sections added on, rather than simply building a completely new hospital. Doing this can cut costs and make sure you are updating for future use and technology. Making sure to leave some room for growth in your hospital layout and build site helps ensure that you can continue making upgrades as needed for the life of the building. 

Additional Costs and Considerations

Market Attributes

The area that a hospital is built in can determine its total value. Markets that have a lot of future development potential mean that the hospital will have greater value and can demand higher costs for services.

Patient Outcomes and Satisfaction

Many new hospitals are designed to accommodate patient satisfaction since most hospitals, especially those that rely on Medicare, often have costs tied to patient outcomes and satisfaction. Facilities that are flexible and designed to reduce overcrowding may have better reports than those that are not flexible.

Reliance on Technology

Hospitals are projected to become more complex in the future, which means a greater reliance on technology to design and build future hospital buildings. This can help reduce costs while increasing efficiency and patient satisfaction.

Regulatory Approvals

Hospitals are subject to not only building and safety codes but also regulations governing their use. All plans need to be submitted for approval before building.

Hospital Site

Whenever possible, a hospital should be built in a quiet place on a healthy and flat site without dust, bad smells, or insects. The site should be large enough to accommodate future expansion as well.

Renovate Rather Than Build

Many hospitals, particularly in rural areas, may be old buildings that are in disrepair or not up to current standards. These can often be turned into more efficient, economical, and eco-friendly buildings more easily than building new hospitals.

FAQs

  • How much does it cost to build a hospital in the U.S.?

The cost to build a 300,000 square foot hospital is around $112,500,000, not including most equipment and supply costs. 

  • What equipment is in a hospital room?

A very large list of items may be necessary for a hospital room. The exact equipment varies, depending on the hospital type and room type, as well as the age and condition of the patient. A partial list may include an oxygen regulator, vital signs monitor, gas lines for oxygen, a hospital bed, and protective personal equipment for the medical workers.

  • How much does a medical-surgery hospital bed cost?

This depends on the bed type and may range from $15,000 to $350,000, depending on usage. 

Cost to build a hospital varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

Updated:
The information provided by our cost guides comes from a great variety of sources, including specialized publications and websites, cost studies, U.S. associations, reports from the U.S. government, contractors and subcontractors, material suppliers, material price services, and other vendor websites. For more information, read our Methodology and sources.
Hospital with empty corridor and bed.
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Cost to build a hospital varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

The information provided by our cost guides comes from a great variety of sources, including specialized publications and websites, cost studies, U.S. associations, reports from the U.S. government, contractors and subcontractors, material suppliers, material price services, and other vendor websites. For more information, read our Methodology and sources.