Sutter Health, Eden Medical Center
Facility Planning & Design

Images courtesy of DPR Construction, general contractor

While the new hospital building looks virtually complete from the exterior, the steel erection for the medical office building continues. This week, the crew will hold their “topping off” ceremony, when they complete the highest point in the steel frame. This is an exciting milestone and shows how far the project has come along in a short time. The building will be home to many of the hospital’s administrative services, as well as an urgent care center and physician offices.

Here’s a closer look at construction of the pedestrian bridge linking the medical office building to the new hospital:

Pedestrian Bridge

 Bridge connection

Modeling for the new bridge

Building Information Modeling view of the pedestrian bridge


Meanwhile, the interior work continues in the new hospital building. We previously posted photos of the main lobby ceiling framework. Here is the progress since then, showing the build out of the lobby space today.


Work also continues on the grounds and around the campus. Part of the community improvements made as part of this construction project has been to install much-needed sidewalks along the site on Stanton Avenue. The sidewalk is now installed and landscaping will soon begin, making the area not only safer, but much more appealing for our neighbors.

Stanton Avenue sidewalk project


Hospital construction is among the most complex and challenging type of construction today. Fortunately, one of the best tools that exists to coordinate the complex needs of many users is right at our fingertips.  The Eden Medical Center hospital replacement project team uses Building Information Modeling (BIM) technology to keep the project not just ahead of schedule, but also ahead of the industry. With BIM, all of the trades (for example, plumbing, electrical, mechanical, heating and ventilation) work on the 3D modeling system in a collaborative effort to “virtually build” the project and work out any issues early, before work begins on the construction site.

Below is an image showing the actual construction, with the same area shown using BIM technology:

Construction with BIM

In addition, the team uses laser scanners to gather the precise data of construction site terrain and construction in progress. This type of laser scanning is the method that provides highly accurate location information to create equally accurate 3D models.

Below is an example of a laser scan of a completed section of plumbing and mechanical:

Laser Scan

The team can then take the actual construction and overlay our BIM image of the same area to identify precise areas of construction. For example, the plumbing contractor can take the image and easily identify plumbing as it actually exists within the building.

Laser Scan with BIM

This simplified explanation can hardly convey the breadth and depth of the modeling technology being used throughout the project. In the coming weeks, we’ll spend more time interviewing the construction team and sharing how this industry-changing program has benefited the aproject at Eden.

Photos of the Week

Courtesy of DPR Construction

New, highly efficient air handling systems arrived last week and are being installed atop the third floor podium roof. The large units will ensure the proper ventilation  that meets the strict requirements for health care applications. As part of the project’s effort for green building, the system will improve energy efficiency while meeting the heavy demands for a hospital running 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Air Handling System lift


View from Above


Workers place unit on roof


Air Handling Units in Place


Another view

Cassandra Clark, Project Communications Director

We recently held an Open House for employees to learn more about the new hospital construction and explore the layout of the new facility and campus. It was at this event that many staff members learned for the first time that, when the new hospital opens in 2013, the campus will be smoke free.

A smoke-free campus means that smoking will not be allowed anywhere on the hospital property, including the grounds, gardens and parking areas, by any person – including employees, physicians, volunteers, patients and visitors.

We are taking this bold step because the new hospital brings a renewed and heightened commitment to our mission to improve the health of the individuals and communities we serve. Without a doubt, smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. We believe that we have a responsibility to take a leadership role on this major health issue and promote a healthier environment.

Eden Medical Center has offered an array of smoking cessation programs for many years to help decrease tobacco use in our community. Looking ahead, we will multiply our outreach efforts and use coaching and support to address staff and visitors using tobacco on hospital grounds. Tobacco-free initiatives have the potential to improve the health of thousands, reduce health care costs, improve workplace safety and contribute to community health improvement.

Hospitals across the country are adopting smoke-free campus policies successfully by reaching out to staff, patients and visitors with effective alternatives to smoking to reduce stress. As a leader in improving health care in our community, we believe this effort is well worth undertaking.

This is just the beginning of this conversation about a smoke-free campus.
We welcome suggestions from you and leading health experts on the most effective ways to reduce tobacco use and boost our outreach efforts.

“There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke. Tobacco smoke is deadly.”
Dr. Richard H. Carmona,
U.S. Surgeon General Report, July 2006

Planning Is Underway for Transition to New Hospital

by George Bischalaney, President & CEO, Eden Medical Center


Although we are still nearly two years away from moving into the new hospital, teams of employees and physicians have already started planning for the transition to the new building. We call the move a “transition” rather than a move, because it’s a process that involves bringing with us good practices, good people and good programs, while entering a new era of health care. Not only will patients be treated in a new environment, but that environment and the people that provide services will do so with state-of-the-art equipment and support systems that will make care more efficient, and in surroundings that are focused on the comfort and safety for our patients and their families.

Our “transition teams” include our managers, physicians and employees from every department in the hospital. When I think of the journey ahead, I find myself thinking about the people who will make this a reality. Healthcare people work well with uncertainty, with making sense of the challenge of illness and injury and finding the right course of action that results in healing. Caregivers face this every day with patients. We are fortunate to have a great team of people who are passionate about their work and committed to making this transition the best possible experience for everyone involved.

While 2013 seems like a long time away, it is so short when you look at the level of detail involved in transitioning to a new hospital. It’s a monumental task that cannot even be described well in a simple blog post. So, we will break it down into smaller, easier to digest, pieces as time goes on. It will both informative and comforting for all to know the level of effort both necessary and desired to make sure this is done right. It will involve everything from testing equipment and systems to rehearsing the actual move of patients on that one day not too long from now. There is much to be done and we’re both excited and challenged by the task at hand.

We’ll keep you posted on our progress and look forward to your comments.

Tekla International  Recognizes Work of Sutter Team!


Tekla International — a global software solution company dedicated to improving the building and construction industry by offering solutions to improve quality, cost-efficiency, and sustainability — has named its 2010 Global BIM (Building Information Modeling) Award recipients. Congratulations to the Sutter Medical Center team for earning both the BIM project category and the public vote.

“The winner of the BIM category, Sutter Medical Center, has been carried through on stringent schedule and costs with outstanding results,” said the jury. “Building information modeling was used in an exemplary way of maximized collaboration. The project was managed based on the model with all disciplines utilizing the modeled building information and fitting in a huge amount of HVAC pipes and equipment needed for a hospital to function.”

Entries to the Global BIM Awards competition were the winners of regional Tekla model competitions held by Tekla area offices and resellers during 2010. The competition was divided into three categories: BIM, steel, and concrete. Tekla Global BIM Awards 2010 gathered nearly 50 exemplary construction projects around the world and nearly 1400 votes for the varied Tekla models presented on the competition website.

More information about the competition, the winners and other entries is available on the Tekla Website

by George Bischalaney, President & CEO, Eden Medical Center


A recent article about the new hospital construction asked readers the question, “Is the hospital too lavish, or is the new hospital just a reflection of modern times?” The reason the question was raised, from what I can gather, is because the new hospital will have all private rooms. This is a marked difference from our 1950s-era hospital that has mostly two-bed and some four-bed wards, shared bathrooms and a curtain for privacy.

When we began designing the new hospital, one of the first questions we asked ourselves was whether or not there would be all private rooms. It wasn’t a long discussion, and the answer was quickly determined to be yes.

The existing hospital, with its multi-bed rooms, is how hospitals were designed in the late 1940’s and early 1950s when Eden Hospital first opened. Sixty years later, the thinking regarding rooming of patients has evolved, just as every other aspect of hospital medical care has evolved.

There are compelling clinical reasons why hospitals across the country are converting to private rooms. Highest among these reasons is infection control. One can pick up any magazine or medical journal and read about the growth of bacterial adaptation to antibiotics over the past decade. In hospitals, there is an ever-increasing need to isolate infectious conditions that create a risk for other patients. Any such high risk patient requires a private room for better management of their illness and also for the safety of other patients and protection of hospital staff. This happens daily in our hospital, and it means that a two-bed ward then becomes a private room, decreasing the number of actual beds available for use. (See previous articles about the effects on comfort, efficiency and increased capacity.)

There are equally significant social needs for private rooms. Patients who are critically ill, injured or at the end of life often have many family and friends who want and need to visit for extended times. It is appropriate that these patients have privacy for the comfort of the family as well as for other patients and visitors.

Privacy and comfort are also compelling reasons for private rooms. Federal regulations to protect a patient’s privacy have changed how we design interiors and how we communicate with patients and other caregivers. But aside from being a regulatory requirement, privacy is a practical consideration every patient should have. This is very challenging to maintain in a room with two or more patients who are separated by nothing more than a thin curtain. In fact, across the country, the demand for private rooms isn’t driven by the perception of “luxury,” but by the need for privacy, dignity and respect.

There seems to be an outdated and misguided view that a private room is only for VIPs, those who can pay more, or those looking for luxury accommodations. There was a time when this may have been the case, but it is no longer true. At Eden, there is no added cost burden to a patient in a private room. And when the new hospital opens, there will be no fee or increased cost to any patient to be in a private room.

I can fairly assume that those who raise a concern about all private rooms have not been hospitalized themselves, or have never experienced a loved one at end of life in a patient room with one or more other patients. In talking with patients and families in the hospital, I have never been told that the single room was not preferred. It’s clear that people prefer privacy (see Washington Post article).

Our patients will benefit, and I believe they will be much happier as a result of the new hospital having all private rooms.

Photo of the Week

courtesy of DPR Construction

The future Trauma Center is taking shape on the first floor of the new hospital.  Here, the rebar and concrete blockouts are laid out. Crews have been making tremendous progress on the concrete work, which is expected to continue through the middle of September.

Digby Christian

The Sutter Medical Center Castro Valley project has been recognized throughout the construction industry as a unique project in design and approach, catching the interest of architects and builders throughout the world. We sat down with Digby Christian, Sutter Health Project Manager, for a closer look at what makes this project unique.

Q. Why is this project different than other projects you and the team members have been involved in?

One of the unique features of the project team is that we have an 11-party contract, with the non-owner members putting all of their profit at risk. I’m very confident that’s a unique set-up in the United States.

Another unique feature is that the trade contractors involved in the design and construction of the new hospital have a goal of achieving a fully coordinated, constructable, affordable design, complete with fabrication drawings, before the facility is even built. We do not want to resolve issues in the field during construction. We want to resolve them all as part of completing the design rather than in the field during construction when change orders are costly and time-consuming.

Q. There is a lot of emphasis on the team approach to this project. Who participates in the regular project team meetings?  How do they work together?

The Project Team is managed by a six-member team called the Core Group. I’m on it representing Sutter Health, as is Bryan Daylor, Eden’s Vice President of Ancillary & Support Services, representing Eden Medical Center. The other four members are from DPR Construction (general contractor), Capital Engineering (mechanical and plumbing design), Devenney Group (architectural design), and J.W. McClenahan (plumbing). We meet every two weeks to ensure the project is managing all the risks as optimally as possible. All decisions are required to be unanimous, and for the two years that we’ve been meeting, we have met that requirement.

A much larger group comprising all the designers, builders and specialty consultants meets at least every two weeks to resolve any strategic issues affecting the whole project. There are also subgroups that meet almost daily to keep information flowing fast and efficiently through the project team.

What are the benefits of this team approach?

You get a fully informed designed. You get an efficient plan for construction. But the main thing you gain is certainty about scope, cost and completion date.  These large projects traditionally go a long way over budget and finish very late and with compromises to the goals that the owner had. We worked hand in glove with each other for close to 18 months to get the cost of the project down without altering any of the goals for the building, and now for at least a year I have been completely confident of our ability to get the triple victory of on budget, on time, and with all the goals intact. That’s a tremendous difference from traditional delivery of these complex, expensive, long duration projects.

What have you learned by this approach?

That it works. To make it work requires that a very large team of people works very hard all day, every day for years. But if the owner’s goals are clear, and the team is working under a contract that puts their interests completely in alignment with the owner’s interests, that that monumental level of effort is exactly what you can get out of a team.  Hospital construction in California is some of the most complex, most strictly regulated, construction in the world and it is extraordinarily unforgiving of oversights and errors. To deliver a hospital on time, on budget with no compromises to what the owner and community want is about as ambitious as it gets in construction at this stage in our industry’s evolution.

How has this changed construction projects for the system? For the industry?

It’s been a tremendous proof of concept for how Sutter Health would like to deliver its projects.  And because the project has been written about in various trade publications and has now won two awards for its delivery model, it does have the potential to be a game-changing project in the industry. I would like it to be just that. Our modern society deserves a rock-solid reliable delivery method for these critical facilities, and until now, in my opinion it has not had that.

If you have any questions for Digby or any member of the team, please feel free to let us know or send us your comments.

This just in! The American Institute of Architects (AIA) announced that the Sutter Medical Center Castro Valley project is among the 2010 recipients of the prestigious Building Information Model (BIM) Awards, given by AIA Technology in the Architectural Practice Knowledge Community (TAP). The program honors projects that highlight proven strategies and the latest trends in design and technology in the building industry.

We’ll share more details on this prestigious award next week, as well as an interview with Digby Christian, project manager, on the project team’s innovative approach to design and construction.

Here’s a closer look at the week’s progress on the new hospital. Photos courtesy of DPR Construction.

Workers install formwork at radius shear wall on the first level

Workers install formwork at radius shear wall on the first level

Nelson stud installation is now complete through level 6 of the tower

Nelson stud installation is now complete through level 6 of the tower

The view from level 4 of the future Podium green roof

The view from level 4 of the future Podium green roof

Rebar installation on level 2 of the elevator shaft

Rebar installation on level 2 of the elevator shaft

We welcome your questions and comments!

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