St. Jude Medical Center Team Honored in Western Region

FULLERTON, Calif. — The design-build team for the St. Jude Medical Center Northwest Tower Project in Fullerton was recently honored with a Western Pacific Region Design-Build Distinction Award for design and construction.

The tower project is currently under way, with an opening slated for November. The design team includes St. Jude Medical Center, Petra-Integrated Construction Strategies (Petra-ICS), McCarthy Building Companies and Taylor Design.

Held on May 22, 2014 at the Newport Beach Marriott, the annual awards program recognizes the most outstanding design-build projects in the Western Region, and the St. Jude recipients won for the Projects in Progress category. The team was recognized for exceeding owner’s expectations through successful application of design-build best practices as defined by the DBIA Design-Build Manual of Practice. Those practices include early integration of key team members during the proposal process via a proposal charrette or other collaborative outreach effort and close coordination between design and construction team members from design development through field construction.

When completed, the healthcare facility will consist of a four-story, 200,000-square-foot hospital wing that is connected to an existing tower on the first and fourth floors. A 20,000-square-foot central utility plant will also be constructed, as well as a 215-car parking structure expansion and re-routing of major site utilities on an active medical campus. The Northwest Tower is designed to meet California’s strict seismic requirements for structure and contents, and it will replace a seismically noncompliant tower.

The project also incorporates a design-build collaboration closely resembling the structure of an Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) process. According to a press statement, the design-build form of delivery on the St. Jude Medical Center project includes IPD “lite” terms and conditions with unique contractual incentives for the design team, contractors and subcontractors while still providing the owner with the certainty of a Guaranteed Maximum Price. To receive these incentives, the team members must meet specific goals for safety, budget, design, facility satisfaction, quality and schedule.

“We chose a design-build project delivery method in an effort to lower the overall design and construction cost as well as to bring a heightened level of accountability to the design phase of the project,” said Jim Bostic, V.P., Construction for Petra ICS. “It is a known fact, that as an owner representative, our best opportunity to control the cost of a project is during the design phase.”

The project also utilized advanced construction technology. For example, BIM 3D, 4D and 5D were used to tie the model to constructability, cost and schedule.

“The design-build team developed the design of this project using 100 percent 3D modeling for all disciplines, not just the MEP systems,” Bostic said. “The entire design team, even at the subcontractor level, worked together from the very beginning of the design process, which is not the current practice on many projects. This delivery system facilitated coordination of every element of the design within the same 3D model.”

One challenge the team faced, according to McCarthy Project Director Holly Cindell, was the onsite logistics and managing the sequencing for multiple phases of construction on an active and operating healthcare facility. Because the campus is almost completely built out, space is limited for materials staging and access to construction activities.

“Close coordination with each major specialty contractor and the hospital departments was required to ensure a seamless workflow and to minimize disruptions to the hospital,” Cindell said. “Our team also utilized Syncro software to develop the site logistics plan. This effort successfully resulted in zero operational disruptions and unplanned shutdowns.”

An additional challenge was the original proposed location. “Due to operational disruptions and the cost of phased construction, the design required a fresh approach,” Cindell explained. “This was achieved with a new site location and revised scope that met all program needs, provided the opportunity for expanded services and advanced technology, and met the established budget.”

Despite the setbacks, the project team ultimately decreased the total project cost by 10 percent.

“Our team has worked together on other projects, but this has been the most collaborative design and construction effort that Petra-ICS/St. Joseph Health System has achieved over the duration of our existence,” Bostic said. “It is a model project for ‘Best Practices’ in the use of BIM tools and the implementation of the design to construction process.”