Our Main Office
Construction Equipment Guide
470 Maryland Drive
Fort Washington, PA 19034
Tue December 19, 2017 - West Edition #26
The St. Luke's Children's Pavilion Project in Boise, Idaho, has been 10 long years in the making, just enough time for planning and designing a state-of-the-art medical facility with a very special clientele.
Construction began in 2016, and is progressing right on schedule, albeit not without some very specific challenges.
“We are little bit on the edge of downtown Boise,” said Jamal Nelson, project supervisor. “It's a tight site. There is a residential neighborhood to the east; directly across the street from the hospital is a very busy street and a retirement center. There are very tight space restrictions, heavy traffic, user groups. We are right in the flight path of St. Luke's air services. So, there are helicopters flying over, ambulances driving by. Maintaining access is key to what we are doing. We are using just-in-time delivery with a remote staging yard that we share with the contractor about a mile away. There's very limited space.”
But due to a unique program, coupled with a deep sense of pride in the project, those challenges are not only being met, but risen above, daily.
It starts with a construction program that is managed internally.
“We have our own construction group, which gives us more control on the quality and timelines,” Nelson said. “We are involved very early in the design development. In understanding what stakeholder groups are using the project for we integrate constructability into the project. It allows us to get stakeholders to participate for an expanded period of time.”
One example of that “constructability” is 120-ft.-long sky bridge, spanning 60 ft. in the air above a busy road. Long before work began, contractors, engineers and designers sat down to discuss the design and construction identifying potential problems well ahead of time.
“The engineers are taking notes and they say, 'This is how we're going to design it.' We coordinate and collaborate to find the cost-effective approach and that way there is not a lot of cost involved in redesigning. It's intrinsic to the whole delivery process. You break these into chunks and phases that are easy to understand. It streamlines it for everyone. It makes for a lot fewer surprises, a predictable outcome and reliable commitment.
The second component to the project's success is a philosophy based on the team's mantra, the “We Care Way.”
“It allows them to identify why they are here,” Nelson said. “This is not just a construction project. It's a very personal connection for our workers. The We Care Way is really about emphasizing how much our workers care about the community, the project and each other. We talk about it every week. How is what you are doing identifying that you care? Are we reflecting that we really care about our community? It's a way to connect and build teamwork.”
Before construction on the new $42 million, 100,000-sq.-ft. facility could begin, crews had to first demolish an existing structure, then dig a 37-ft. deep hole that will become three levels of underground parking. Excavators and loaders removed 84,000 cu. yds. of soil. Crews then had to shore up the four walls and design a dewatering system to mitigate the high-water table.
“We have four large wells that go down about 45 feet in the ground,” Nelson said. “They've drawn down that water table which has allowed us to work. I'll be dewatering up until late fall. Because of the underground parking, it's engineered to a passive system as opposed to an active system. This is designed so that structurally it's a giant bowl waterproof system. All the concrete fits in that. It relies on the weight of the structure to hold it down in the ground, to keep the building from ever floating above ground.”
Crews also could not use traditional hammer piling, but relied instead on an auger attachment to a drill. It took longer and cost more, Nelson said, but was necessary to ensure there was no disruption in the care of nearby patients.
When finished the Children's Pavilion will include four levels above ground and a fifth mechanical floor with rooftop area. Equipment currently on site includes scissor lifts, an 8,000-lb. forklift and a 220-ft. high tower crane.
The pavilion is slated for opening in 2019. It's a project that will be a source of pride to workers for a long time to come, Nelson said.
“When you are talking about millennials and trying to connect young people and get them excited about what they are doing and why they are doing it. You really have to embrace that — creating a project people want to be part of. We're such a hallmark of the community, everyone wants to work for St. Luke's. Construction workers who can't donate money, can say 'hey I was part of building that.'”