HerreroBoldt – Sutter Health CPMC Van Ness and Geary Campus Hospital Project

VNG L2 Adult Admitting copyThe partnership of Herrero Builders Inc. and The Boldt Company is building a new San Francisco hospital using extensive offsite fabrication of components.

By Russ Gager

Building new structures on tight city sites always is a challenge, but when the facility is in an area as congested as San Francisco and seismic design is required, the challenges mount. Fortunately, construction of Sutter Health’s CPMC Van Ness and Geary Campus Hospital Project – which is named after two of the streets it borders – those challenges are being met with ingenuity and skill by HerreroBoldt, a partnership between Herrero Builders Inc. and The Boldt Company.

The building’s central plant and emergency generators are housed on the 12th floor and rooftop to allow the ground floor areas for ambulance access, the loading dock, a drive-through for patient drop-off, parking and a main lobby.

Additionally, a hospital requires storage tanks for the oxygen that it provides to patients throughout the structure and for fuel to power emergency generators. Many hospitals frequently store these tanks outside, but in the case of the 274-bed CPMC Van Ness and Geary Campus Hospital, the building extends to the property line on all four sides of an entire city block. So the tanks are stored in the hospital’s basement behind 8-inch-thick concrete block walls rated to last for four hours in the event of a fire.

“This takes some considerable construction considerations,” HerreroBoldt Project Director Rob Purcell emphasizes. “Effectively, you build buildings inside of buildings and build in occupancy separations.” Additional tanks are used to store domestic water in the event of an emergency, wastewater if storm sewers stop working, water for fighting fires and rainwater.

A 210,000-square-foot parking garage with 435 parking spaces on two levels also is below-grade. Three emergency generators and the cooling towers are located on the roof of the 12-story, structural steel tower, which rises out of a five-story podium and covers approximately half of the site. The exterior of the hospital will be covered in a combination of glass curtain wall, stone on the ground level and metal panels with punched windows.

Finally, a hospital in San Francisco must have an extensive system to withstand earthquakes. The CPMC Van Ness and Geary Campus hospital includes 120 innovative viscous wall dampers throughout the structure that use a fluid to slow a building’s movement from an earthquake and reduce wind-induced vibration and inter-story drifts by more than half. This project is the first installation of Viscious Wall Dampers in the United States

Integrated Project Delivery

Purcell attributes the success of the project to Sutter Health’s decision to use the integrated project delivery method. The project is a cost-plus integrated form of agreement in which HerreroBoldt, SmithroupJJR, their trade partners and design consultants have placed 100 percent of their profit at-risk.

“We were able to bring together a team to collaboratively design the project early,” Purcell emphasizes. “I really think the fundamental contributor to our success was that decision at the beginning of the project. Then it was up to us to bring the team together and create the culture where people worked together differently than the traditional norm in the construction industry.”

Building information modeling is being used extensively in the project by HerreroBoldt, architect SmithGroupJJR and the more than 60 subcontractors, which allows substantial prefabrication and kitting of components. “Our trade partners are extracting information from the model directly into spooling sheets and sending it to manufacturing, which is offsite, for all the components of the building to be precut, preassembled, labeled, packaged and brought to the site,” Purcell explains.

This just-in-time delivery of components ready for installation in the building removes the need for extensive staging space on the tight site and reduces the amount of labor needed onsite. “In our current phase of construction, all the fire sprinklers, mechanical piping, racks and decks are all coming to the site preassembled and kitted,” Purcell says. “So they can be brought directly to the place where they are going to be installed, lifted up, attached to the structure and put into place.” Prefabrication also allows the work to be done inside instead of in potentially unfavorable weather.

Hotel Demolition

Demolition of the 12-story Cathedral Hill hotel on the hospital site began in 2013. Up to 99 percent of the material from the demolished concrete structure was recycled. Ground was broken in 2014 for the 740,000-square-foot hospital, completion of which is scheduled for August 2018 with patient move-in during the first quarter of 2019.

“While many buildings in San Francisco are built on piles, this location of the city is ancient sand dunes,” Purcell says. “We were excavating through compacted sand down to a clay layer. Our foundation does not have piles. It has spread footings and grade beams that we’ve placed directly on the sand and clay layer on our site.” The hospital is being built on Cathedral Hill, one of San Francisco’s many hills, so the depth of the excavation varied from 40 to 80 feet depending on the hill’s location.

The hospital is aiming for LEED certification and features green roofs, LED lighting throughout, displacement ventilation and a central refrigeration system system and glycol cooling medium for all kitchen and cafeteria refrigerators. Additionally, the heat from that refrigeration system is being recovered to preheat domestic hot water.

These are the kinds of innovative solutions that Target Value Design brought to the project. “You have the people at the table informing design decisions early in the project, so that the design that gets selected is a design that can efficiently be built,” Purcell stresses. “We had a budget, and together we collaboratively created a design solution that met the budget, and we did it in an environment with a lot of sharing of information, trust, collaboration and embracing of innovation.”

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