We start with a key question: How will this facility be used?

From the concept phase on, we work to understand fully the needs of the clients, the donors, the staff, and most importantly, the patients. Then we ask another: How will it be used in future?

We make the most of every dollar in the budget.

At all stages, we work hard to minimize expenses. Being a nonprofit organization, however, we don’t pocket the savings: We encourage our clients to reallocate them to more and better patient services.

  • During planning, we present our clients with design options and make clear how their choices impact the bottom line.
  • We have a small but specialized permanent staff assigned as needed to different work sites.
  • We use skilled volunteers strategically, both in the early planning stages and at the job site.
  • We develop partnerships with key suppliers and negotiate good discounts.
  • We actively solicit donations of materials, tools, and equipment for construction as well as of medical devices, medical equipment, and furnishings.
  • We incorporate local natural resources into our design and locally source all materials we can.
  • We maintain our own warehouse and repair shop in countries where we work, and we use efficient cost-effective logistics.

We plan and build with experienced professionals.

Because we build in isolated areas with limited access to materials and equipment, we have to plan and design carefully. Errors, even minor ones, can stall the work and impact whether the facility can function fully, or at all. We need people with precise skills and knowledge to flag potential problems in the planning stage and to develop work-arounds on the job site. 

Some of these professionals — architects, engineers, and master plumbers, electricians, carpenters — are on BHI’s staff, others are volunteers. Together, they customize both the building and its systems to the locale. The result is a facility that works better, that can be maintained and repaired, and that will last.

At each work site, we hire locally.

To fill out our crews, we subcontract with tradespeople and laborers from the community and provide training on the techniques and materials we use. This has two advantages: We not only support the local economy but also develop a more skilled team who can maintain the facility and be available for work on other construction projects in the region.

We build quickly, efficiently, and “green.”

Lives do depend on our work, and we all feel the urgency. Without compromising quality, we work fast, even given unforeseen obstacles. We pride ourselves, too, on completing projects on time and on budget. Just as important, where feasible, we incorporate solar/photovoltaic power panels, sustainable wastewater treatment systems, and other green technologies into our designs. It’s not just better for the earth, it’s better for the community.

We build relationships, too.

Quality control for any building requires monitoring after completion, and we continue our support long after the ribbon is cut. We advise local staff by phone and email, solve problems, re-visit the site, and arrange additional training and help if needed. With every issue that arises, we learn more about what works best, and most importantly, we help keep the facility open and serving its patients.