“Clinical or facility operations were never impacted by construction activities, and the field team’s exceptional communication skills kept the clinical staff and administration informed of upcoming activities, noise levels and risks."
Director of Construction | HCA
The National Hurricane Center called Hurricane Harvey “the most significant tropical cyclone rainfall event in United States history, both in scope and peak rainfall amounts.” The hurricane hit the Houston area just as the HCA / Kingwood Medical Center ICU vertical expansion project was in the midst of structural and skin scopes of work. It delivered over 60 inches of rainfall in just four days.
DPR project manager Patrick Gorman said because the building was not dried in yet, “there was a tremendous amount of planning and coordinating the temporary waterproofing to minimize water intrusion into the facility.” The challenge was immense.
Another outsized challenge for the team on this project was “jumping” the elevators up two floors above the existing three-story building, an effort that required extensive coordination to ensure there were no water intrusion issues with the existing elevators and no unintended elevator downtime.
All construction activities occurred over an active NICU and postpartum departments. Strategic medical air, gas, and vacuum tie-ins required temporary local units and back feeding the live lines to ensure no critical disruptions at any point.
The project team took a proactive approach to preparing the building for the extreme weather, installing temporary roofing and flashing at all tie-in locations. The planning paid off; water intrusion was minimal from the hurricane.
The project team also prepared a site utilization and site logistics plan aimed at preserving public safety and minimizing the impact of construction operations on the still operational facility, working closely with the owner to coordinate phasing and staging of the work.
Prefabrication was another key solution that greatly benefitted the project’s schedule, safety and quality control. DPR estimated they were able to accelerate the project schedule by eight weeks by utilizing modular and prefabricated components, compared to what it would have been with a traditional approach.
The prefabricated components included 34 modular patient bathrooms, 5 public/staff restrooms, headwalls, and sink walls; 36 footwalls; and 18 charting stations. All of these units were built off site and utilized a just-in-time delivery to coordinate with the overhead MEP installation. In addition, the building’s exterior skin was constructed using prefabricated exterior insulation and finish system (EIFS) wall panels for the majority of the building envelope, totaling 17,850-sq.-ft. of finished exterior wall panels. These panels were similarly fabricated off site and then shipped to the job site where they were hoisted into place.
In order to address the NICU department proximity, the project team had multiple meetings with the entire hospital staff and nurse leaders for each unit to coordinate the shutdown. A true example of the great teamwork and collaboration between DPR and the facility.
“I work with many project teams across the country, and DPR’s professionalism far surpasses others. The team embraces schedule and cost certainty and when issues arise, I am confident they will bring multiple solutions to the table and not just obstacles. DPR keeps patient and staff safety top priority when planning construction activities. This well thought out execution plan provides us a better-quality product.”