May 14, 2010
WILLIAM CONWAY/PROGRESS PHOTOGRAPHY
FEATURE | General & Trade Contracting
St. Joseph’s construction requires careful planning
With more than 680 tradespeople and office support staff on site at St. Joseph’s Healthcare West 5th Campus in Hamilton, construction manager PCL Constructors Canada Inc. has its hands full.
The 855,000-square-foot, $380 million (construction costs) hospital is a Design Build Finance Maintain (DBFM) project by Plenary Health. PCL is responsible for design and construction as part of the Plenary Health consortium.
Like all DBFM projects, the builder shoulders risk that is normally associated with the project’s owner in traditional construction procurement models. “There are liquidated damages and financial penalties we face for missed deadlines,” says PCL’s construction manager Sean Shabaga.
“It is a very aggressive timeline.”
And a juggling act of sorts because the construction manager has about 90 companies under its supervision.
Ensuring all subtrades, suppliers and consultants are on time requires weekly, bi-weekly, monthly schedule review meetings — even daily meetings and “hourly ones” aren’t unusual, Shabaga says.
In the early stages of planning and design, the duties of PCL and its consultants included making sure project design was compliant with all RFP documents.
Building Information Modeling (BIM) and 3D software have played a role in scheduling – both at the design and construction stages, adds Shabaga.
“It helped us work through details, trouble areas and helped us avoid clash detection (interferences of materials in a 3D project model) for instance.”
The construction manager’s role isn’t just played out on site. Regular visits are scheduled to the fabrication shops of materials suppliers to confirm that production is on time. “We ask that they develop and issue us detailed fabrication schedules that will meet our construction deadlines.”
One innovative approach to construction that has improved scheduling and coordination of subtrades on site is the prefabrication of mechanical/electrical pipes and HVAC ductwork for installation above ceilings.
Mechanical/electrical contractor Comstock Canada Ltd. fabricated racks in shop prior to its installation on site with hydraulic jacks, says the construction manager. “They insulated and tested them on the ground so they could gain a lot of time efficiencies, safety and quality.”
Shabaga says mechanical/electrical prefabrication is relatively new in Canada, although the practice is “fairly common” in Europe and seen in the United States.
The project’s waste recycling program is proving a winner to date. Almost 99 per cent of all the construction waste (roughly 27,000 tons) has been recycled or reused, says Karen Langstaff, chief planning officer, St. Joseph’s Healthcare.
The development is targeting a LEED Silver certification. Throughout the project, Shabaga says there are five major criteria carefully managed by PCL: ensuring construction is done in a safe manner; organizing and meeting all schedules and milestones; meeting design specs; using quality materials and construction methods; and, keeping everything on budget. “We spend 99 per cent of our time on these things.”
Langstaff says the hospital’s medical community and its staff have played a role in planning the new hospital’s output and design specifications which will make the 304-bed complex a “very functional” design.
“We have had over 70 user groups and hundreds of people come to these meetings to make sure we get it right.”
Chris McQuillan, principal of Cannon Design, calls St. Joe’s “a model project” in which the AFP (Alternative Financing and Procurement) has been a collaborative effort — a “well thought out, most cost-effective solution” for the hospital’s operational requirements. The delivery has been “smooth” and should result in a “great building.”
GEOFF GRENVILLE/KALLOON PHOTOGRAPHY
The new hospital incorporates a number of holistic design principles with elderly patients in mind. Lighting will be set to a consistent luminescence with minimal glare, furniture arranged in barrier-free fashion and colour-coded wayfinding will be at intermediate height, she says.
“We have reviewed best practices, visited many different settings and worked with leading architects and experts in the field of mental health design worldwide,” says Langstaff.
To be completed in 2014, the new hospital will be called the Margaret and Charles Juravinksi Centre for Integrated Healthcare. Construction started in December 2010, with the official groundbreaking ceremony in April 2011.
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