When the University of California, San Diego Medical Center wanted to increase the project scope for a new $25 million, 75,000-square-foot medical office building by 70% for its C.W. Driver-led design-building team, this was no simple request.
Fortunately, C.W. Driver, architect Gensler, and structural engineer Miyamoto International were up to the challenge, employing Lean manufacturing strategies and building information modeling to keep the project rolling along on time and on budget.
Designed as a new gateway to the east campus, the LEED Silver-certified Health Sciences and Medical Center three-story building is tucked behind UCSD’s Thorton Hospital and features office and meeting spaces, exam and treatment rooms, and a pharmacy and café, essentially consolidating previously scattered research groups into one location.
In addition, the building houses the hospital’s Clinical and Translational Research Institute.
Exceeding California energy code requirements by 16%, the new facility employs variable-air-volume air handlers, an ENERGY STAR-rated light colored roof membrane, daylight harvesting, and a large canopy.
When C.W. Driver’s team was first contracted for the job, the original scope of work included on-site grading and construction of the office building, but only much later did UCSD realize that it would be best to have the design-build team handle the off-site infrastructure, perimeter road, and off-site improvement work, as well, resulting in close to a 42% increase in cost to the original budget.
Fortunately, the team had already been using the Last Planner Lean construction system for the project, which enabled a swift response to the change. Based upon planning sessions with four-week load-ahead intervals and weekly progress meetings where the team made weekly commitments to resolve any design or construction constraints, this project delivery strategy proved invaluable.
“The process of creating, maintaining and achieving weekly commitments helped the design team manage this increase in design and construction scope, which ultimately proved successful by on time completion of all the design deliverables,” explains Andy Feth, PE, LEED AP, DBIA, project director, C.W. Driver.
In addition, the team turned to prefabbed construction to stay on schedule. This included pre-glazed punched window openings; unitized, pre-glazed curtainwall components; and steel joists with pre-installed cross bracing. In addition, the BIM models enabled many of the mechanical, plumbing, and electrical components to be pre-assembled as well.
In particular, “BIM aided the design of the open web steel joists and mechanical system the most,” relates Garrett Wilson, LEED AP, C.W. Driver project manager. “As above ceiling space was limited due to the depth of the joists and girders and the desire to maximize finish ceiling height, the routing of the mechanical ductwork was critical.”
In fact, the BIM models revealed that special shop fabricated openings on some of the girders would be required to carve out a path for the ductwork.
“By modeling the structural system during design, we minimized the locations where these more expensive structural members where required and the ductwork could be designed to pass through the open webbing of the joists throughout the building, which maximized the finish ceiling height,” reports Wilson.
Another innovative aspect of this project was the design-build team’s decision to utilize tilt-up concrete, shoring and sandblasting. Breaking away from traditional tilt-up panels, the team creatively employed various form liners, sandblast textures and plane changes to create a classic architectural look without breaking the budget.