A dozen WSP employees collaborated with the architect, SLAM; and general contractor, Gilbane, to provide mechanical and electrical engineering support necessary to reactivate the building systems for emergency temporary occupancy due to the virus outbreak. For WSP, Fernand Tomaz served as project manager, Tom Bartlett was lead HVAC engineer, Jose Alves was the lead electrical engineer, and Alex Munsey was the commissioning engineer.
From the date the project was green lit, the team – including state officials, the architect, engineers and contractors – was fully committed to taking every step to complete the necessary documents, site evaluation and full installation within the 21-day period.
The process included daily general contractor-design and owner-architect-contractor meetings. Daily site participation, following all needed safety protocols, enabled the team to assist in the controls and balancing of the existing systems to ensure every requirement outlined for the mechanical-electrical narrative was followed.
“To make this work, this was going to take a complete team effort by all parties – state agencies, architects, engineers, contractors and the Boston Medical Center staff,” Hurley said.
Early in the facility re-occupancy program, the team created a plan to identify spaces capable of readily accommodate 302 beds that would be suitable for quarantine and/or isolation.
“Essentially, these had to be rooms that already had existing headwalls,” Hurley said. “We also had to evaluate how far do we needed to go in order to fix the existing MEP/FP (mechanical-electrical-plumbing/fire protection) infrastructure, which had been left dormant for almost two years.”
One example of innovative on-site decision making came when determining the best air handling unit to reuse in order to service specific areas of the facility – a critical consideration to ensure air was cleaned and secured for patents and medical staff when the facility opened.
WSP realigned the overall pressure differentials between occupied and unoccupied spaces by adjusting air handling units and exhaust fans. New parts and filters were installed, tested and balanced for air distribution and exhaust fans providing 100 percent fresh air in all occupied spaces.
Head-end hardware and software was also installed to provide necessary controls. WSP provided a qualified operator for the system to ensure it functioned and was maintained properly.
For the heating and cooling system, WSP confirmed that the steam heating distribution was fully operational, checked valves at converter units and tested all three chillers and pumps to ensure they were fully operational – making repairs wherever necessary.
Before the building was declared operational, WSP and the team left no stone unturned … or unsanitized. Water pipes, sprinkler systems, emergency lights, fire alarms, plumbing systems, sump pumps and IT networks were all among the systems that were installed, cleaned, inspected, tested and approved for facility use before it was opened.