The Heart & Vascular Hospital at Clear Lake Regional Medical Center

When this 207,000-sq.-ft. heart hospital broke ground, the plans called for a four-story,160,000-sq.-ft. building. Several months in to construction, the hospital decided to add an additional two floors. Despite this major addition, the facility was completed just two weeks following the original completion date. The facility includes a six-story tower, pedestrian bridge to the existing hospital, 84 beds and operating rooms, intensive care beds, a coronary care unit, catheterization laboratories and private inpatient beds.

The soil in Clear Lake is sandy, requiring massive footings. Rather than dig individual footings, DPR excavated the entire area, poured footings and plinths, then backfilled around them. Excavating a single large area meant there was no risk of the cave-ins associated with digging footings in sandy soil, and two weeks were shaved from the schedule.

With three of four floors in place, the owner added two floors to the scope of the project. Designs were not complete, and rebar—which had a lead time of six weeks—is typically not ordered until drawings are farther along. Rather than push the schedule out, DPR pre-ordered the rebar, estimating quantities based on the previous floors and allowing for changes in the field to accommodate the larger ductwork required for floors five and six. The anticipated field changes were made quickly, ultimately saving time on the scheduled compared to ordering rebar when designs were complete.

The addition of two floors of cast-in-place concrete would have exceeded the soil bearing capacity of the site, so the design of the roof was changed to steel, which is long lead. To keep the project moving forward, a temporary rubber roof was installed so finishouts could begin on the first four floors. Waterproof sheetrock was used on top-out walls in some areas where wall framing and ductwork installation could begin. The cost of the temporary roof—approximately $70,000—paid for itself in time saved four times over. It also allowed the team to essentially stay on the same schedule proposed before the addition of two floors. Installation of a connector bridge from the heart hospital to the main hospital also presented challenges. Created using more than 100 tons of steel, the 400-ft. bridge was installed over a busy county road. The team was required to coordinate with several entities to close the road while sections of the bridge were installed.

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