Stories

Integrated Team Driving Children’s Medical Center Project in Dallas

Overhead coordination using BIM allowed early prefabrication of the headwall systems, an important component in meeting the aggressive 14-month schedule.
The team created full-size mock-ups of a patient room, nurses’ station, team rooms and medical rooms during the SD phase. (Photo by Dane Kustes)

When DPR’s Austin office was invited to compete for a build-out of a two-story universal care unit for Children’s Medical Center of Dallas last year, it jumped at the opportunity. With an owner that wanted to pursue a much more transparent and integrated project delivery (IPD) approach than it had before, an aggressive schedule that would require out-of-the-box thinking, and the usual technical and logistical challenges that go hand-in-hand with healthcare construction, the project seemed custom tailored for DPR’s capabilities.

Team Players

Project: Pediatric Intensive Care Unit

Customer: The not-for-profit Children’s Medical Center is the fifth-largest pediatric healthcare provider in the country, with 559 licensed beds, two full-service campuses and 10 outpatient sites. Children’s was the state’s first pediatric hospital to achieve Level 1 Trauma status and is the only pediatric teaching facility in North Texas, affiliated with the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

Architect: HKS

Project Highlights:

  • The project is comprised of 49,000 sq. ft. of existing core and shell space, including two universal care suites with 48 patient beds, support space, on-call rooms, a children’s play room and classrooms.
  • The team created full-size mock-ups of a patient room, nurses’ station, team room and medical room during the SD phase.
  • The transparent budgeting process helped the team early on to establish a budget approximately $2 million below the owner’s original goal, which allowed for significant additions to the scope.

Comprising 49,000 square feet of existing core and shell space at Children’s Medical Center of Dallas, the project includes two complete universal care suites with 48 patient beds, support space, on-call rooms, a children’s play room and classrooms, among other features.

A half-dozen contractors and an equal number of design firms participated in a unique selection process that allowed the design and construction firms to self-select integrated partners and begin developing a working relationship with the owner through a visioning workshop during the proposal process. Children’s utilized this process to see first-hand how the design and construction teams worked together, how they interacted with their own decision makers and how effective they were as a fully-integrated team. DPR quickly joined forces with architect HKS—with whom it was wrapping up another pediatric hospital project in Temple, TX—Blue Cottage Consulting, process planners, and ccrd partners, mechanical, engineering and plumbing (MEP) engineers, and together they submitted the winning proposal using information gleaned from the visioning session with Children’s.

Early collaboration among Children’s, project manager KLMK, DPR, HKS and key design-assist MEP subcontractors was critical due to a schedule that allotted just 14 months from team selection to project completion—a timeline DPR Project Executive Brandon Murphy estimates was at least four months shorter than the norm for a job of this scope and size.

The team knew the opportunity for schedule savings lay mostly in streamlining the preconstruction and design phase of the project. Working closely with ccrd partners, key subcontractors were brought on board early to assist in design and help brainstorm the most efficient sequence of construction. Overhead coordination using building information modeling (BIM) allowed an early jumpstart on prefabrication of the headwall systems, an important component in meeting the aggressive schedule.

Short-circuiting the typical process in which mock-ups are produced after the construction documents (CD) stage, the team created full-size mock-ups of a patient room, nurses’ station, team rooms and medical rooms during the schematic design (SD) phase. This enabled the owner to walk through the spaces and make critical decisions much earlier in the process. For example, moveable walls were used for a mock-up of a patient room so the end-users could try different layouts to ensure the exterior charting station had proper site lines and door clearances. “That was something we haven’t done before, and it really saved us time during the design phase,” Murphy said.

The team’s focus on collaboration, trust and transparency played a major role in their overall approach and success to date. That is reflected in the single comprehensive project budget, which is managed and regularly updated by the team, incorporating everything from design, project management and construction costs to owner-provided equipment and furnishings. The transparency of the budgeting process helped the team early on to establish a budget, totaling $26 million, approximately $2 million below the owner’s original goal, which allowed Children’s Medical Center to add significant scope.

As of August, the project was progressing steadily towards a phased completion that has 24 universal care beds turning over in November of 2012 and the balance the next month.

“Everybody just feels this is the right way to approach a project,” Murphy said. “We’re all working towards the same goal and having fun in the process.”