Completing the $12.5 million facility in four months demanded swift action by the design and construction team, which included Matthei & Colin, architect of record; Gilbane, construction manager; and Frederick, Seibert & Associates Inc., civil engineering, land surveying and landscape architecture. All of these companies were involved with the construction of the Meritus Medical Center building more than 10 years ago, including Leach Wallace, now a WSP company.
“The biggest challenge with this project was that the design process was almost inverted compared to normal design practice,” Lamdin said. “At the same time, there were new procedures everyone had to learn in order to be productive and safe in a remote environment.”
Due to long lead times on equipment, the team used an inverted design approach, which required WSP to select major equipment such as air handling units, exhaust fans, supply air terminal units, plumbing fixtures, panelboards and lighting fixtures before the architect had finalized the floor plan. This required Andrew O'Brien, the project manager and mechanical/plumbing lead; and Jacek Grabowski, the electrical lead, to make necessary engineering judgments based upon their previous experience to select the correct equipment.
“In the end, all long lead items were used and no equipment needed to be re-ordered,” Lamdin said. “This approach succeeded because of extensive medical design experience and seasoned judgement of WSP’s mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineers.”
He said the entire design and construction team adapted to the new approaches required to meet the demands of an accelerated timeline. WSP held daily team huddles via the Skype and Microsoft Teams platforms to keep track of progress and tasks. Those calls, which included the construction manager, design team, project owner and the Washington County code officials, were essential to keep the design process on the fast track.
While it is unusual to involve code officials at this stage of a project, this approach ensured thorough understanding on all sides of the project’s objectives and requirements. This resulted in smoother permit submissions and on-site inspections that would’ve otherwise required considerably more time to complete.