Speed to market was the overriding goal for the owner, which was working to beat a competitor in opening the first acute care facility serving residents in and around the town of Midlothian. Until now, the nearest hospital has been a 20- to 25-minute drive away. The project’s highly accelerated schedule brought sizeable challenges – not the least of which was an extremely wet winter and fall of 2019 that resulted in approximately three months, or 60 working days, of weather delays.
The team faced another major hurdle when the fully prefabricated central utility plant (CUP) – the brain center of the hospital – ran into significant and unexpected delays. The CUP was prefabricated at a Cincinnati, Ohio facility and then trucked to Texas for onsite installation. Originally slated to be delivered to the jobsite in October of 2019, the team learned the CUP would not arrive until March of 2020. This required quick problem-solving to avoid delays to the completion schedule.
DPR self-perform crews played a significant role helping the project mitigate the rain delays, according to project manager Ashish Gupta. “We were able to be very nimble using our self-perform crews, working weekends to make up part of the time,” he noted. “Through extensive preplanning and by our self-perform crews helping drive the schedule, we were able to still meet our topping-out milestone date for the hospital and stay on track. They also helped keep the level of quality really high.” DPR self-performed concrete and waterproofing portions of the hybrid steel and cast-in-place concrete hospital structure, totaling nearly 10% of the overall project budget.
Another key solution was co-locating the design, construction and key subcontractors’ team in an onsite big-room environment. This facilitated real-time problem solving and open communication. “With the whole team being there and able to pivot whenever needed, answer questions and make decisions so quickly, it really benefitted the schedule,” Gupta said.
When the challenge arose relating to the misalignment of the delivery of the CUP with the project’s schedule needs, the team quickly brainstormed a solution: install a temporary plant to provide power so that crews could condition the space and complete the finishes as planned. “It was an all-hands-on-deck effort of everyone just buckling down and getting that temporary plant up and running,” Gupta noted. “As a result, we didn’t have any schedule impacts getting our finish work done.”
Virtual design and construction tools also provided solutions on the project. The team employed detailed 4D and 3D modeling of the building’s skin and interiors and created 3D mockups of patient rooms that could be “walked through” using virtual reality headsets – enabling owner input and feedback before and during construction.
The Methodist Hospital in Midlothian successfully opened on November 9th 2020, DPR successfully completed the professional office building portion of work as planned in May of 2020. The team was selected to make a presentation on the project at the Lean Construction Institute’s Annual Congress in October of 2020.