New construction technologies and practices including building information modeling (BIM), virtual reality, and lean construction techniques were several of the many skills need to help two SMACNA contractors in Boston meet a fast-paced timetable for Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
The hospital’s new LEED Gold-certified, 675,000 square-foot, 13-story Building for Transformative Medicine was designed to bring together physicians and researchers from different disciplines to collaborate on new treatments and therapies in one location.
Like those medical specialists, SMACNA Boston’s Harrington Air Systems, Stoughton, Mass, and McCusker-Gill Inc., Hingham, Mass., collaborated as one dedicated team to complete the project while saving time and money along the way.
Harrington Air Systems was the primary HVAC contractor and handled the base building shell while McCusker-Gill performed the HVAC tenant fit-out of all the floors in the hospital and research building. The work involved installing 570,000 pounds of galvanized duct and 30,000 pounds of welded stainless-steel ductwork, 1,400 variable air volume boxes and air valves, 1,900 registers/diffusers, and 1,200 chilled beams.
BIM and virtual reality saved time and money
Because very tight ceiling spaces with numerous mechanical services made coordination extremely difficult, the entire construction team relied heavily on collaborative building information modelling utilizing Autodesk’s BIM 360 Glue and Revit. They also used CAVE virtual reality technology and lean construction practices, including on-site co-location for the trades, pull-planning, model-based estimating, and target value design.
While conducting virtual walk-throughs of the building’s mechanical penthouse using virtual reality, the team discovered that a catwalk would be needed to reach a specific valve. This discovery saved $70,000 on the cost to have added it later.
Simultaneous construction met tight schedule
The project team constructed the core and shell of the building simultaneously rather than following the usual practice of starting with the core. This allowed the 460-space underground garage and the building to be constructed at the same time.
According to McCusker-Gill’s Operations Executive Roy F. Ricci, who is also a former SMACNA National Board member, this construction strategy saved about three months on the construction schedule.
Prefabricating assemblies including duct with variable air volume, branch take-offs, end caps, and access doors reduced field installations and material handling. This saved additional time and helped McCusker-Gill meet that aggressive schedule.
Engineering-News Record magazine ENR New England recognized the work as a Health Care Best Project.