Work in progress, courtesy of DPR Construction
Work continues on the main elevators. Once construction of two critical elevators is complete, the exterior lift will be taken down and the building exterior will be complete, leaving the new structure “water tight.” The photos below show the steady progress, from above and a silhouette of a worker welding inside the elevator shaft.
A view from above:
A closer look:
By Jeff Moore, President, Greenwood & Moore
Greenwood & Moore is currently completing the Phase 4 construction drawings for the hospital. Phase 4 encompasses the area directly around the new hospital. In total, there are seven individual construction phases associated with the site Civil Engineering services. Each phase of construction requires a complete set of construction documents that are coordinated with the work performed in the previous phases of construction. Had the new hospital been constructed on a “greenfield site” (raw land with no previous development) then only one set of drawings would be required. The need for seven sets of plans illustrates the challenges and complexity of constructing the new hospital adjacent to the existing hospital.
The seven phases of constructions are as follows:
Phase 1 – Demolition of the existing Pinecone Apartments and Medical Office Buildings
This work was completed in the summer of 2009. In general, this was a very straight forward scope of work. Interestingly enough, one the more challenging aspects of this phase of work were relocating the existing doctors who occupied the medical office spaces that were to be demolished. The amount of design and coordination needed to relocate the doctor’s was immense! Add to the mix, the individual personalities of the doctor’s, different lease terms, differing needs for new office space and a drop-dead demolition deadline, and you get more excitement that a civil engineer is typically used to!
Phase 2 – Construction of the new Helistop, Large Site Retaining Walls, Garage Vehicle Access Bridge and a Temporary pedestrian access bridge.
The work in Phase 2 is referred to as “Make Ready” work. That is, this work needs to be completed before significant work on the hospital can begin. The large site retaining walls, pedestrian bridge and helistop were completed in late 2009. Work on the garage vehicle access bridge continues and is expected to be completed in a few weeks. From a civil engineering standpoint, the design of the helistop was the most challenging aspect of this phase of construction. This was due to the extensive design regulations set forth by the FAA. Oddly enough, the design of the ramp leading to the helistop was particularly challenging. The height of the landing pad above the roadway, airspace clearance requirements and patient gurney maneuverability issues were all pieces of the ramp design puzzle. When all was said and done the final ramp configuration solved the hospital’s technical requirements.
Phase 3 – New Temporary Ambulance Parking
This work was simple but critical. In order to facilitate the construction of the new hospital, it is necessary to relocate the ambulance drop-off area for the existing hospital. This work was completed in late 2009.
Phase 4 – Site Improvements around the new Hospital.
This is a very complex phase of the civil engineering design services. This phase of work incorporates all of the detailed site construction around the new hospital. Some of the aspects of the phase of work are
- Soundwalls for adjacent residential areas
- New 18’ high, curved, retaining walls for the outdoor eating area
- Truck loading dock
- Site utilities
- Underground fuel storage tanks
- Underground fire sprinkler storage tank
- Mobile technology (i.e., MRI) trailer location
- Ambulance parking
Extensive coordination with the architect and other design team members is critical to make sure that all of the pieces fit together properly.
Phase 5 – Demolition of Laurel Grove Hospital and New Parking Lot
The demolition of the existing Laurel Grove Hospital and the construction of new parking on the site are the major components of Phase 5. Currently, Laurel Grove Hospital is physically connected to an existing medical office building to the north of the project. In order to remove the hospital, it will be necessary to provide minor reconstruction of the adjacent office building. The removal of Laurel Grove is expected to occur in early 2010. Its removal is critical to the construction schedule, as the site will be used for temporary construction staging and parking for the next two years.
Phase 6 – Demolition of the Existing Hospital
The removal of the existing hospital – after the new hospital is complete and everything is transferred over — will present some unique challenges. When the building is gone, there will be a very large hole in the ground that will need to be filled and a foundation that will likely remain intact. The civil engineering plans need make sure that these structures will not adversely impact the new parking lot that will be constructed on the site of the old hospital.
Phase 7 – Construction of the Main Parking Lot
Once the existing hospital has been removed, construction of the main parking lot can begin. Phase 7 and Phase 4 are the two most complex parts of the civil engineering package. The most notable aspect of the Phase 7 civil design is the stormwater control system. This system provides required treatment to rainwater run-off. From the public’s point of view, the stormwater control system looks like regular landscaping. In reality, it is a complex filtration system that helps to keep pollutants and debris out of the public creeks and storm drain system
So, there has been a lot going on in the civil engineering world. The design process will continue throughout the first half of 2010 until all aspects of the design are complete.
I welcome your comments and questions.
by Jeffrey W. Wright, Heliplanners, Aviation Planning Consultants
Heliplanners is proud to have been involved with the replacement hospital project at Sutter Medical Center Castro Valley. One of the first items in this major project was to relocate the existing at-grade helistop (helicopter landing area) to make room for construction of the new hospital building. Heliplanners was brought on board to assist the overall project team with the site selection, planning, design and permitting for the new helistop.
The selected site provides ready access to the Emergency Department while meeting all aviation design criteria including the all-important airspace obstruction-clearance criteria. The site presented some challenges to build in an area that will be used throughout construction, and then link to the new hospital once it opens in 2013. We had to take into consideration the airspace clearance, existing structures, ongoing construction and most direct access to the Trauma Center. The first step was for the construction crews to prepare the site, which was to grade a small hill just 150 feet from the existing location.
With a nod toward overall community disaster preparedness, the new helistop is designed to accommodate aircraft as large as the Sikorsky Blackhawk, which is used by most military branches including the Coast Guard and National Guard. This allows the Medical Center to accommodate that helicopter for disaster relief in event of a major earthquake, wildfire, terrorist attack, airline or train accident, etc. Of course, the typical patient transports would be provided with much smaller helicopters locally by REACH, CALSTAR, Stanford LifeFlight and CHP.
Heliplanners assisted Sutter Health‘s project team by providing liaison and permitting assistance with the Federal Aviation Administration, Caltrans Division of Aeronautics and the Alameda County Airport Land Use Commission. We also assisted the project team with countless details related to construction of the helistop to ensure that, when completed, it would qualify for the Heliport Permit issued by Caltrans Division of Aeronautics during its final inspection. Caltrans inspected the helistop and issued the permit on October 27, 2009.
Heliplanners, based in Temecula, California, has assisted hospital, law enforcement, fire department and corporate clients with heliport development throughout the United States since 1987. In that time, we have been involved with well over 125 heliport projects in over 20 states. We congratulate Sutter Medical Center Castro Valley on the excellence of its approach to the entire hospital reconstruction project, providing a state-of-the-art medical center for Castro Valley residents.
Photos courtesy of DPR Construction
Construction continues this week as workers focus on a temporary pedestrian bridge from the parking garage to the hospital entrance. This is a critical part of the walkway changes that make way for new access roads and fire lane to the site and to the parking garage. Work is also continuing on the relocation of the helipad, moving approximately 150 feet north.
The most noticeable work is with the large drill, crane and cement truck on site to drill and pour the piers. The work is steady, with 10 to 12 piers poured each day until all 570 are complete. We’ll post soon about the purpose of these piers and what to expect over the next month as the work advances.
By Digby Christian, Project Team Leader
FIATECH is an industry consortium within the building industry. Its primary mission is to get all the “players” involved in capital projects to adopt new ways of thinking and new technologies to deliver higher value for the funders and end-users of construction projects.
Here is why our team won the award…
As most of our readers know, California’s deadline for retrofitting or building earthquake-proof hospitals from scratch is 2013, less than four years from now. The hospital project in its current form was validated as viable in August 2007, and design work was authorized to start in October of that year, leaving us just over five years to have the building be ready and open for business. Typically, in California, it takes at least seven years for a project of this magnitude.
So the team had to throw out all historical concepts of how design is done and come together as a wide-ranging, multi-company team involving the owner, the designers and the builders, and transform the design and construction process to drive two years out of the schedule. The team is now on track to achieve just that and did it primarily by redesigning the design process in a rigorous and unrelenting fashion, so that it no longer bears any real resemblance to tradition!
If you are familiar with the classic design process, you’ll know that it’s typically abbreviated as “SD-DD-CD”: Schematic Design (broad concepts typically discussed and agreed to by the owner and the architect exclusively); Design Development (often a General Contractor might have some involvement in this); and Construction Drawings (some trades might be brought on board to inform how these are put together). Then, the work goes out to the building community and those companies develop what are known as Shop Drawings. These drawings show in detail how every little and large item in the building will be fabricated, i.e., the structural elements, including steel, metal, glass, concrete, etc.
On the SMCCV project, all of the people who typically are brought in at the end are already on board, and most of them have been on board since August 2007. By the time this project completes its approval process through the County and State we will already be at the Shop Drawing stage. The building is being designed for fabrication now, while the design approval process is underway.
While this concept has been discussed for the last few years within the industry, and parts of the above have been implemented on other projects, no project has implemented this concept as broadly and as deeply as the SMCCV project; certainly not on a project this large and this complex. It is one of the reasons our project won the FIATECH award!
The other primary reason we won the award is because of how thoroughly the building has been designed in three dimensions (as opposed to the typical two dimensional paper drawings we are used to seeing). There are many very attractive shots of 3D design that you can find on websites, and in trade magazines but you can’t tell if the designs are any good—all you know is they look “cool.” But on the SMCCV project, we bring the entire team together at least every two weeks to work through the coordination effort. It’s painstaking and difficult, but utterly critical to a successful outcome in a shorter timeframe.
What is not often understood outside the industry, and to some extent even within the industry, is that different design disciplines use different software, and they can’t see each other’s work in real time while they are designing. Each company has to either import a converted file of each other’s work or send both files to a third package, such as Autodesk Navisworks, to see both designs at the same time. So it’s all too easy to have a poorly coordinated, unbuildable, three dimensional design—no different in fact than having a poorly coordinated, unbuildable, two dimensional design.
In addition, we have focused the team on the larger goal of designing for fabrication rather than the industry convention of designing to produce the construction documentation, which is then coordinated by the construction team. The team’s goal to design for fabrication means we are swimming against the tide. We are allowing our companies to each use their own best-in-class software and then developing a process that allows a high level of coordination and constructability to ensure that what is being designed is actually what we will build.
The above might seem dry and technical; however, by a) having a multi-company team involving all the construction trades from day one; b) throwing out the baggage of a poor design process and starting from scratch to build a better one; and c) having a goal of designing for fabrication will allow us to build a new hospital on schedule, within budget, and without any last minute compromises on the finished product.
On the Sutter Medical Center Castro Valley project, we are breaking new ground ahead of any other project in the country in the way such projects are handled. That, in essence is the reason why the team that is building your hospital won the 2008 FIATECH CETI Award.
In addition to the Sutter Health project team, I want to personally thank The Devenney Group, DPR Construction, Capital Engineering, The Engineering Enterprise, TMAD Taylor & Gaines, GHAFARI Associates, J W McClenahan, Morrow Meadows, Superior Air Handling, MPS Project Management, Navigant Consulting, Greenwood & Moore Engineering, Herrick Steel, Otis Elevators, Strategic Project Solutions, Royal Glass, Clark Pacific, Candela, Sparling, and numerous other specialty trade vendors for making it possible to receive this award—and to meet our 2013 deadline!
For all you construction buffs, or for anyone who is interested, check out FIATECH at http://www.fiatech.org/.
I welcome your questions and comments!
Many of you may be wondering why we chose the existing site of Eden Medical Center to build the replacement hospital. In Chapter V of the Environmental Impact Report, the project architect and environmental impact report consultant (ESA) prepared and analyzed alternative sites and concluded that 20103 Lake Chabot Road was still the best choice for building Sutter Medical Center Castro Valley, an affiliate of Sutter Health.
However, building a new hospital next to an existing one presents some interesting challenges. The construction and design teams had to come up with a multi-phased approach to building the medical campus while keeping the existing Eden Medical Center in full operation. The construction of the hospital is to occur in seven main phases. So, it is necessary to provide seven sets of civil construction drawings where one set is normally provided!
For example, phase one begins with the demolition of the Pine Cone Apartments at 20004 Stanton Street, and four existing medical office buildings located next door to Eden. Right now, we have no access to portions of the site because certain structures are in the way. Demolition of existing buildings is a logical and intuitive start to the construction process.
Phase two consists of what is referred to as “make ready” work. This is work that must be completed before construction on the main hospital can even begin. A good example of “make ready” work is the relocation of the existing helistop (helicopter landing pad, used for the emergency transport of trauma patients). The existing helistop is located next to the new hospital. Helicopters cannot land safely at the existing helistop location during construction of the new hospital. Therefore, the helistop must be moved just 150 feet before work can start on the new hospital. In order to move the new helistop, we need to level a hill, provide drainage, provide flight path clearance, ensure adequate lighting, etc. And remember, full access to the new or existing helistop must be maintained at all times during the construction process!
Other types of “make ready” work include:
- Construction of a large retaining wall to surround a portion of the site. The wall supports a critical roadway around the new hospital site.
- Construction of a temporary path from the new helistop to the existing Eden Trauma Center so that patients can have access to the existing Trauma Center
- Build a new bridge from the new road to the existing parking garage (where handicap parking will be relocated during construction)
- Finally, demolition of the current helistop.
These are just a few examples of “make ready” work that will need to be performed. As you can see, it can get pretty complicated. The need for significant construction phasing is what creates a lot of the site design complexity.
We estimate that phases one and two will take six to eight months to complete! Hospital construction can begin in earnest upon completion of the “make ready” work.
Where are all the pipes & wires?!
Even more complex than all the preparation to erect the new hospital is figuring out where all the underground utilities are. We’re talking about 50-plus years of modifications of pipes, wires and sewers, some of which have been abandoned and no one knows exactly where they are. The contractor needs to know where all critical utilities are located so they can abandon or re-route them to fit the needs of the new construction. In order to locate them, the contractor needs to “pothole” (dig them up) to make sure that they are located where we think they are. This is an expensive and time-consuming process. We’ll also have to build a temporary storm drain system to capture rainwater during construction. The final storm drain system will not be completed until 2012, with the completion of the new hospital.
Taking Down Eden—It’s Not a Quick Good-Bye!
Demolishing the existing hospital—a process we call deconstruction because of the selective, targeted work involved and the recycling process—won’t take place until the new hospital is up and running and all patients have been safely transferred. Since the main entrance road to the new hospital is just ten feet away from the existing hospital building we can’t exactly get in there with a wrecking ball or explosives! So special safety precautions will be provided by the contractor to ensure that the hospital is removed safely and efficiently. We are all concerned about getting things done safely, so deconstruction will be slow and methodical over a six month period.
Being in compliance with environmental safety laws also presents challenges during deconstruction. Eden’s ripe old age means that there will be a certain amount of hazardous material that needs to be removed and properly disposed of before demolition and recycling of the old materials can begin.
When the deconstruction is finally completed, the bottom basement floor will most likely be left in place (to save money) and stay intact since it will be located underground. So you could say, a little bit of Eden will remain forever!
If you have any questions, concerns or comments, please feel free to leave them in the comment box below this post. (Click on the title of the post, and the comment box will appear below it.) We will respond as quickly as possible. We want to hear from you.
By Jeff Moore, Co-Owner, Greenwood & Moore, Inc., Engineering Firm
My name is Jeff Moore. I’m the “Moore” of Greenwood & Moore, Inc. We’re a multi-disciplined engineering firm specializing in civil engineering, land surveying, architectural/structural design, and land use planning. We’ve been in business in Castro Valley for over 40 years.
As civil engineers, we are responsible for the entire site design of Sutter Medical Center Castro Valley. With an effective site design, pedestrians and vehicles can safely and efficiently access the hospital. As land surveyors, we’re the people you see in the streets with tripods and surveying equipment measuring the location and elevation of things like curbs, gutters, streets, trees, etc. We are also responsible for locating the property lines around the new hospital.
Greenwood & Moore is honored to have been selected as the prime Civil Engineering and Land Surveying firm for the new Sutter Medical Cente Castro Valley. We have been providing professional design and engineering services for the existing hospital for over 20 years. The previous work that Greenwood & Moore performed for Eden Hospital for so many years allows us to have an out-of-the-ordinary perspective on the new hospital’s requirements.
For the hospital’s new design our firm is responsible for civil engineering tasks that include the grading plan (pipes and storm drains), parking lots, site design and circulation, site utilities (sewer, water, electrical, etc), and coordination for the Environmental Impact Report.
It is very exciting to work on this project because of the complexity involved in constructing a new hospital while the existing hospital remains in place. And personally, I find it professionally stimulating to work with such an experienced, top-notch management team.
I am proud to have served as a Trustee for the Eden Medical Foundation for last 4+ years. My wife, Beth, and I co-chaired the Eden Medical Foundation’s Spring Gala 2006-2007.
We live in Castro Valley with our children, Ellie, who is five years old and Sean, who is three years old. Both kids were born at Eden Medical Center. Beth and I are active in the community through the Castro Valley Rotary Club and the Castro Valley Chamber of Commerce. Because we live and work in Castro Valley, our association with Sutter Health and the new hospital is more than “just a job;” it impacts our lives personally.
Please feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of this post or ask questions about the engineering aspects of the new medical center, and I’ll be glad to respond within a day or two.