Andersen Construction Co.

The economy is booming in the city of Hillsboro, Ore. The fifth-largest city in the state is home to Intel Corp. and near the Beaverton, Ore., headquarters of Nike. “It is [a portion] of the Portland metro area that’s exploding,” Travis Baker says. With such strong growth, it was only a matter of time before other sectors needed to expand, too, including the local healthcare industry.

Andersen Construction Co. is helping it do that as it builds the new Kaiser Westside Medical Center. Baker, a project director at Andersen, says the Diagnostic and Treatment Building and new four-story Nursing Tower provide 285,000 square feet of new hospital space, including 126 patient beds. The adjacent 110,000-square-foot Specialty Medical Building houses approximately 60 healthcare providers, offering a complete one-stop shop for most medical issues.

The new west side center also will provide many patients with more convenience, Baker says. Currently, Kaiser members that currently live near what will be the new Westside Medical Center must at times travel to Kaiser’s Sunnyside Medical Center for certain hospital-related services. With the new facility, “Kaiser has aligned themselves to better serve current and future members living on that side of town,” he says.

Going for the Gold

The new center is aiming for LEED Gold certification, Baker reports. “There’s numerous design and construction elements contributing to the project’s ability to achieve LEED Gold,” he says. Among many others, these include solar panels, rainwater reclamation systems and rooftop gardens. The project also is utilizing regionally sourced materials, recycled products, and more reflective colored surfaces at roofs and surface paving to reduce heat gain. “It is a likely outcome that we’ll be able to achieve that [gold rating],” he says, adding that Andersen Construction has extensive green building expertise.

“We have a whole kettle of LEED-accredited professionals,” he says, adding that the company has many LEED projects in its portfolio. “The decision to pursue sustainable design and construction practices and LEED certification is most commonly driven by the owners.”

The new center uses a template design that Kaiser has developed over many years through the construction of several other hospitals.

Resulting from California’s long-term requirements to either upgrade all critical facilities to current earthquake code or replace the facility in its entirety, Kaiser has built multiple new hospitals.  “With so much new construction underway nationally, it only makes sense for a large organization like Kaiser to adopt standards and templated design,” he says.

“They have gotten pretty good at [gaining] efficiencies from this process,” he adds. “Kaiser refers to [our center] as a ‘Generation 2 hospital,’ which enjoys the fruit of many lessons Kaiser’s learned over years of implementing templated design. Kaiser works hard at studying best practices globally and implementing those findings in their standards so each region isn’t re-inventing the same efforts over time.”

Right on Time

Baker says he is proud of how Andersen Construction and the entire design team have adapted to changes early on in the project, particularly during critical points in the preconstruction process. “[We coped with] having to incorporate significant programming adjustments and still got construction started on time,” he says. For instance, the project was originally designed to feature two Nursing Tower buildings, but was later revised to a single-tower design.

“I continue to gain an appreciation for that [feat] as we move forward,” he says. Indeed, the company’s hard work has paid off and it is well on its way to meeting its completion date in summer 2012. “We’re more than halfway [done],” Baker notes.

The Best Value

Baker is pleased with the work of his subcontractors. “They’ve been huge,” he says, noting that the mechanical and electrical subcontractors, who are working under negotiated GMP contracts, have been especially key. Andersen Construction’s key partners include Performance Contracting Inc.

The MEP subcontractors participated in the preconstruction process and were primary team members in the process to develop the overhead coordination models necessary to ensure the various MEP systems would be installed in an efficient manner and free of field conflicts.

“By allowing the design professionals to focus on design and the subcontractors to focus on installation coordination, we worked collaboratively to provide the best overall value to Kaiser,” he says.

Positive Signs

With offices in Seattle; Portland, Ore.; and Boise, Idaho, Andersen Construction says it is known as one of the top-10 general contractors in the Pacific Northwest and a leading U.S. green contractor. “Since our doors first opened in 1950, our focus has always been client satisfaction and commitment to quality,” it says.

This has helped the firm earn a reputation as a builder of choice as it has constructed communities in Oregon, Washington and Idaho. “Andersen is a company whose people understand the power of collaboration and teamwork and leverage that power to overcome challenges and accomplish great things,” it states.

Baker, who has been with Andersen for 12 years, says he sees a strong future for the company, despite the impact the economy has had. “We will eventually recover from what’s been going on the last couple years,” he says.

“Portland specifically has been hit pretty hard,” he says, adding that the firm is grateful to have the Kaiser project. “It’s been a wonderful job so far and came at a time when the market was really soft.”

“It’s not often that a single project can make such a positive impact to a firm’s workload, but at $215 million over a couple years, the Westside project is doing just that,” he says, adding that he believes a recovery will arrive soon for Andersen.

“We’re starting to see some positive signs. There are more and more opportunities to compete for as of late, and dollars held on the sidelines the past few years are slowly starting to return to the playing field. We remain hopeful.”

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