By Casey Ward, Project Engineer

Solutions are truly all around us. They originate from many sources including our team members, subcontractors and owners. No matter the source, valuable means and methods can be found everywhere. What follows is a highlight of one of the solutions from the Columbus Community Hospital project, as well as an outline of other procedures that originated from the pre-planning meetings.

Demo an existing 5-story stair tower that is adjacent to the sleep study area, imaging department, and intensive care unit while the hospital remained fully operational. One of the most invasive portions of the project due to the placement of the hospital’s critical operations. The demolition needed to be completed as quietly as possible with little to no vibration to the facility, while maintaining the safety of the workers, and with consideration for the schedule and budget of the project.

The idea first came from senior management who suggested a demolition expert to take down the stair tower. Vogel Bros. project staff engaged a demolition expert who proposed using a remote controlled elevated robot (picture a tracked machine with a big hammer drill). This proved to be a tremendous advantage for the project. Not only was this a better option for the schedule, it was the least invasive procedure and a much quieter solution. The 80’ stair tower was removed and cleaned up within three days. The fact that there were no complaints on noise or vibrations from the client was the true mark of success. This solution mitigated the safety risk and helped keep the project on schedule.

Solutions like the one mentioned above can come from anyone at any time: project management, the field team or subcontractor team members. Regardless of the source, often times these solutions originate from the pre-planning meetings. Pre-planning helps engage team members, combines experiences and creates new avenues for company development. Here’s a list of other procedures utilized at the Columbus Community Hospital project that created solutions and helped to better our process.

  • Per the advice of the Vogel Bros. superintendent, the electrician used a Hydro-Vac, which saved time and eliminated potential hazards while going through a densely populated mechanical field. Pressurized water digs trenches around existing utilities and allowed for safer installation.
  • The plumbing contractor had their medical gas panels pre-fabricated at a shop in a controlled environment. The field workers were swamped and pre-fabricating the panels in the shop provided a much needed boost on the project.
  • One of the clinics had uneven floors, comprised of various dissimilar materials (concrete, plywood, etc). The flooring contractor recommended Schonox underlayment, a self-leveling material that took a few hours to apply and got people back to working on it within hours. Its flexibility and durability made it a huge success.
  • Vogel Bros. mocked up the OR and prep-recovery rooms’ head walls for hospital staff to review. The staff was able to physically see their new environment, and was able to make a few changes to better their operations. This helped us stay on schedule and limited changes after the fact.
  • The HVAC contractor recommended adding ball in the wall pressure sensors. These sensors have been used on previous projects, and the simplicity of the device helped with balancing between sterile and back-of-house decontamination zones.
  • Through the value engineering phase, Vogel Bros. recommended relocating an existing shed that was located in the new additions parking lot. This created savings by improving a process and not eliminating scope. On top of owner savings, this was a green decision that both the builder and client could be proud of.

By engaging team members, you just might be surprised on what you can learn. I encourage everyone to be open minded and look for methods to improve procedures. It is a great way to add value to your project, create a safer environment and keep on the leading edge of means and methods.