- Oct 29, 2019
The most challenging construction projects create opportunities to tell a story and share best practices. In Phoenix, Arizona, a shuttered hospital site received voter-approved bond funding for a major renovation. The goal of the client was to get the hospital functioning within one year to serve critical needs of the community. Gilbane Building Company and its design partner, DLR Group, transformed the former acute care hospital into a behavioral health and emergency care facility.
Team members Richard Beach (DLR Group), Kevin Murrett (Architectural Resources), Jon Schaefer (Gilbane Building Company), and Stephanie Kinnard (Gilbane Building Company) present A New Life: Transforming a Hospital for Behavioral Health Through Innovative Design at the Healthcare Design Expo + Conference in New Orleans on November 5th. They will discuss how they overcame complex challenges of the project. Read some of the highlights below.
Behavioral Health Considerations
Converting an acute care hospital into a behavioral health facility requires significant renovation in security, safety and anti-ligature components to increase patient safety and rehabilitation. Architectural Resources, a leading behavioral healthcare design firm, provided expert design intelligence to incorporate many specialized components into the renovated facility. The upgraded facility now features an open lounge space to provide a comfortable, therapeutic environment containing furnishings with soft edges and tamper-resistant hardware. Tables and chairs are heavily-weighted to make them difficult to pick up and throw. Patient rooms have anti-ligature features including push-buttons instead of pull-cords for nurse call alarms, non-shatter mirrors, security glazed windows, pick-proofing caulking, and anti-ligature bathroom fixtures. Padded bathroom doors use magnets instead of anchor points or exposed hardware to help eliminate patient self-harm. Wicket doors maximize patient safety and provide staff access to patient rooms that have been barricaded from the inside. Sally port hallways were built to reduce the risk of patient flight and provide a safe entry and exit point for caregivers, visitors and patients.
A major challenge of the project was the replacement and repair of the existing drain waste and vent system. Unknown until the demolition (and subsequent exposure of pipes), the facility’s plumbing systems were experiencing microbiological induced corrosion (MIC). Above-ground plumbing was replaced with epoxy-coated, cast iron pipes to resist any future MIC. All below-ground pipes that were affected were coated with an adhesive epoxy resin to seal off pinholes and corrosion. This epoxy sleeving process allowed for a highly cost-effective and long-lasting solution that mitigated deep trenching work.
Another unknown factor was that most of the building’s tower windows had experienced water infiltration. The original project scope was changed to include all patient room windows. This resulted in the opportunity to install engineered behavioral health windows that are designed to withstand aggressive force.
Aggressive Schedule Demands
The biggest challenge the team faced was achieving an aggressive construction schedule. In order to meet the Owner’s schedule requirements which were based on the community’s needs, the project team deployed a multi-shift approach and a modified integrated project delivery method that included onsite design team participation from DLR Group. Several project teams were assigned to allow for continuous work around the clock, seven days a week. This approach provided each team with respite and a fixed hourly schedule versus a typical over-time plan. Subcontractors bid multiple shifts (instead of over-time shifts), to mitigate the fatigue factor. This staffing approach resulted in a zero lost-time incident rate. With multiple shifts and DLR Group’s onsite staffing for real-time approvals, the project was delivered safely and met the schedule demands.
The transformed hospital is now having a positive impact in the neighborhood by providing access to care for those in the community who desperately need it. The project was awarded 2019 Best Healthcare Project by Engineering News-Record (ENR) Southwest.