Partnership Helps Drive Oregon Hospital Expansion

By Grant Hughes and Mike Doty

MEDFORD, Ore.—Asante, the largest healthcare provider in the southern Oregon region, recently launched a multimillion-dollar project to expand the Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center. Designed to meet rising demands for health care among Medford’s growing and aging population, the newly built 323,600-square-foot, six-floor patient pavilion and central utility plant will increase inpatient and outpatient capacity and improve access to specialized care. The facility addition includes 20 operating rooms, 30 short-stay rooms, 32 critical-care units, a 78-bed women’s and children’s unit, and support spaces.

Hermanson Company, a Washington-based mechanical contractor, took over the project a year into construction. Contractors were met with a robust project scope, involving the installation of hot, chilled, domestic and industrial water systems using piping and components ranging from 2” to 30” in diameter. Faced with a compressed timeline and notable logistics limitations on the active hospital campus, Hermanson knew they needed a total project partner to bring the project to fruition according to schedule and tapped Victaulic to help navigate these obstacles. Hermanson quickly integrated Victaulic’s team into the project, leveraging their strategic solutions and easy-to-install products to help adhere to the original construction schedule, reduce risk and minimize disruptions to the active hospital campus.

In addition to the inherent challenges caused by picking up a project mid-way through completion, the location of Hermanson’s main office and fabrication shop in Seattle, Washington — approximately 450 miles from the Medford, Oregon, job site — added another layer of complexity when it came to coordinating project logistics.

Considering the scale of the out-of-state project, Hermanson decided to tap into Victaulic’s virtual design and construction (VDC) services to support their in-house VDC team. To compress the ambitious schedule, Hermanson’s team created spools in their fabrication shop using comprehensive drawings and a bill of materials provided by the Victaulic VDC team. Hermanson also strategically leveraged Victaulic equipment modules throughout the facility to streamline installation and reduce the amount of both fabrication and field joints.

“Steel was already up when we arrived on the project. It would have been very difficult to maintain the schedule without Victaulic, even with our fabrication shop,” said Taylor Lowery, Hermanson’s project manager on the Asante project. “We reached substantial completion in about two and a half months with Victaulic’s support.”

The active hospital had extremely limited laydown space and enforced strict time restrictions for deliveries, permitting only one semi-truck on the campus at a given time. Together, Hermanson and Victaulic organized the timely delivery of spools and components for same-day installation.

“Getting the shipments and delivery right was very important because it let us put the pipe straight in,” said Brent Johnson, general foreman at Hermanson. “Victaulic was on-site for every single delivery, no matter how miserable and cold it was.”

Installation speed and efficiency were key priorities for the mechanical contractor, who needed to join more than 5,200 linear feet of pipe — including large-diameter pipe — throughout the patient tower and central utility plant. Hermanson also had to consider how to optimize installation in tight, confined spaces and on the rooftop where they couldn’t use forklifts.

Hermanson used Victaulic headers and Advanced Groove System™ (AGS) couplings, fittings and valves instead of welding 14” to 30” pipe on the rooftop cooling tower. As crews unloaded materials from delivery trucks and lifted them to the top floor using a 205-foot crane, contractors installed pipes immediately to alleviate spatial constraints. The AGS system’s two-piece housing design enabled pipefitters to easily make connections using impact guns. Since proper installation can be visually verified by checking for pad-to-pad contact, Hermanson’s team could move quickly and confidently from joint to joint.

“It only took one day to install the cooling tower piping. When you weld, you know you’re going to be there for a while, especially for large diameters. Being able to get these 30” headers to fit up on racks with the crane was pretty handy. Since we could install the couplings at the same time, we were also able to cut the crane loose quickly,” said Dylan Davis, pipe-fitting foreman at Hermanson.

Hermanson also used Victaulic QuickVic™ couplings and fittings to streamline installation and reduce material handling. The QuickVic components are installed by “stabbing” the product onto the pipe end — eliminating the need for a third hand to secure the coupling onto the pipe during installation — and tightening the two nuts using power tools. The speed and simplicity of assembling the grooved system boosted productivity, enabling Hermanson to catch up to the project’s demanding schedule. Using Victaulic grooved solutions yielded significant time savings for the contractor, while also eliminating the risks associated with open flames and hot works.

“I thought the QuickVic products performed well, and they definitely sped things up,” said Thomas Thomason, field foreman at Hermanson.

Thanks to Hermanson Company and Victaulic’s total project partnership, Asante Rogue Regional’s long-anticipated expansion project has been successfully completed and opened in February 2024 according to the original project timeline. From executing BIM coordination and directing truck deliveries on-site to saving time with fast and easy-to-install grooved products, the partnership paved the way for a successful mechanical installation that propelled the overall construction schedule forward despite the contractor’s mid-project and cross-state takeover.

Grant Hughes is Regional Sales Manager and Mike Doty serves as Territory Sales Manager for Victaulic, a leading global producer of mechanical pipe-joining, flow control and fire protection solutions for the most complex piping applications.