It takes a village

October 31, 2010
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Rady Children's Hospital successfully expands its healthcare campus, adding on the new LEED-certified, $260-million Acute Care Pavilion
© Anshen+Allen, a part of Stantec Architecture © RMA Photography Inc. © RMA Photography Inc. © Anshen+Allen, a part of Stantec Architecture © Anshen+Allen, a part of Stantec Architecture © RMA Photography Inc.

Steve Van Dyke, project director for McCarthy, adds: “We formed a partnership early on in the permitting process with OSHPD, and helped them expedite the process by sending subs up to their offices to work with them. OSHPD wasn't the enemy at all; they are there to help you ensure the building is being built to applicable standards.”

To that end, from a design standpoint, OSHPD was also viewed as a part of the overall team that was vital to building a safe facility in an earthquake-prone region. “OSHPD affects every aspect of the project-planning, design, detailing, and finish materials. It is pervasive,” Sadler says. “We worked closely with OSHPD all through the design process, approval of drawings, and completion of construction. They are an integral part of the process of building hospitals in California, and we view them as part of the team.”

In pursuit of LEED

Aside from dealing with OSHPD mandates for earthquake safety, the construction and design team on the Rady project also regularly tracked the requirements necessary for the facility to garner an official LEED certification.

“LEED didn't detract from our schedule because when we set out on this project, we were going to figure out a way to make this a LEED-certified project,” Meyers says. “If our subs or suppliers ran into a roadblock, we told them not to push the schedule back or seek a change order. We told them to come back to us and we'll assess our own recovery plan. If you have that kind of attitude throughout the project and maintain it, your subs and suppliers will get it.”

Preplanning was critical to any hope of achieving LEED status for the new facility, so one person on site was designated to focus on the needed items for each element of the certification. “We had a full-time, dedicated LEED person on site and marshaled everything on LEED through that individual,” Van Dyke says. “That was one of the biggest challenges. There was a lot of upfront work required during the preconstruction phase of the project for this to be successful. It is hard to achieve LEED certification.”

While time-consuming and often difficult to nail down, the LEED requirements did not adversely affect the design aspects of the Rady project as it progressed from the drawing board to completion. There were even a few surprise discoveries thanks to LEED. “Energy efficiency goals impacted the size and type of glass used. Interestingly, energy efficiency calculations indicated to not include solar shading over windows on the project because it actually cost more to heat the building in the winter when blocking the sun's heat than we were saving in the summer,” Sadler says. “The gardens and site design were impacted by LEED requirements to have better site concrete, more plantings, bike racks, and to design a better storm water management system.”

LEED requirements did influence certain material choices for the Rady project as a whole. “We strove to include as many low-VOC materials on the project as applicable in a healthcare setting,” Sadler says. “This includes carpet, paints, sealants, and adhesives. More than 10% of the materials on the project are composed of recycled content, and almost 40% of the project building materials were sourced from within 500 miles of the project site, thus reinvesting in southern California manufacturing. All the wood products [except minor plywood and nailer pieces] are Forest Stewardship Council certified wood, ensuring that they came from an environmentally managed forest to improve long-term health for forests, wildlife habitat, clean air and water sources, and climate stabilization.”

Putting it all together

OSHPD mandates and LEED requirements were formidable challenges for the Rady project team; however, a greater test was laid out right in front of the team on Day One. It faced the question of how one squeezes a 270,000-square-foot Acute Care Pavilion on a 148,650-square-foot segment of land right next to the existing Rose Pavilion portion of the hospital. An additional wrinkle the team had to consider was that the Rose Pavilion was still open to patients and staff.

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