With a meticulous focus on quality, safety, and operational excellence; Woodward delivers this major addition and renovation project to the bustling LSU Health Sciences campus in downtown New Orleans.
Project Scope & Sequence
The project team sequenced the project by first starting with the interior renovations on the Clinical Science Research Building (CSRB) and Medical Education Building (MEB), and construction of the new generator building.
The generator building is a 2-story building made of slab on grade structural steel with poured concrete decks. The team focused on the generator construction delivery in the beginning of the project as it houses the new critical MEP equipment that powers the entire campus.
While completing renovations, the team executed the new animal transportation bridge that ties into two existing areas connecting the CSRB and MEB. The steel framed connector bridge sits on two concrete bridge piers and connects MEB to CSRB.
The CSRB building addition is an 8-story poured in place concrete deck and walls, with CMU walls, and a glass curtainwall system. Additional scope included flood-proofing on the MEB and installing bridge toppers on the existing pedestrian bridges.
Fourth Floor Vivarium
The LSU Health Science Center’s School of Public Health operates from the CSRB and MEB buildings, the nature of their studies requires the housing and well-being of various animals for medical procedures and research. The vivarium, which is an enclosed area designed to provide a stable environment for animals and plants for observation or scientific research, was a major component of this project and is housed on the 4th floor. Within the vivarium consists of a tunnel wash and sterilizer used for the cleaning and sterilizing equipment, animal cages, and small hand tools. To ensure longevity in the vivarium’s drainage system, an Epoxy Brush Coating was applied to the pipes which fills pinholes and cracks to eliminate corrosion of animal care products over time.
Within the vivarium is a large cage rack hydro-washer and sterilizer used for thorough, efficient cleaning of cages, racks, debris pans, and miscellaneous items used in the care of laboratory animals. This piece of equipment was inset in a large 1’ deep structural pit to accumulate all the water from the cages. Due the large amount of water from this scope item, extra waterproofing materials were installed between floors 3 and 4.
Due to the nature of use of this building, the need for clean rooms with seamless floors and walls is imperative. Wall and floor coatings in the MEB/CSRB must be slip-resistant, puncture-resistant, and stain resistant.
To meet the needs of this building, a rigorous, multi-step application was used for the epoxy coating on the CMU walls and flooring system through the entire CSRB addition. New Orleans Metal Works was the subcontractor applying the coatings, and Woodward’s team performed quality inspections for this healthcare standard in clean rooms.
Testing Protocols and Commissioning Process
The complex nature of this project required both a rigorous testing and commissioning process. The construction team facilitated the testing program to major components of the project, most notably the exterior glass curtain wall system. To ensure the exterior system was met its hurricane/wind rating it was tested by CCL (Construction Consulting Laboratory). This Texas-based company performed the curtain wall system testing and ensured its quality performance.
Woodward coordinated with Thompson Building Energy Solutions to perform pre-function testing, functional testing, and final verification of commissioned equipment which included new central plant and 13 new air handling units, medical air/vacuum, medical exhaust hoods, fire pumps, switch gears and 5 remote generators.
As deficiencies during testing were found, Woodward captured them in Procore to be added to the mechanical punch list for the mechanical contractor. As those items were resolved, Woodward would submit documentation and verified with Thompson.
Woodward used Lean schedule practices and the Last Planner® System for schedule management. These tools include the “Master Schedule”, phased “Pull Scheduling”, and “Look Ahead Scheduling”. This collaborative approach includes all individuals that are directly responsible for supervising the work. Pull scheduling participants include subcontractors, vendors and Woodward’s field supervision. This scheduling process includes trade foremen who commit to completion dates and identify the prerequisites needed to complete their work efficiently.
Major MEP Shutdowns
The project required over 20 shutdowns of the major MEP system serving the entire operating campus of this institution. To prepare for the shutdowns, the team executed a multi-step communication and coordination plan three weeks in advance to the shutdown. The team worked with LSUHSC’s facility manager, design professionals, and the end-users the shutdown would affect.
This was a particularly sensitive process, as the shutdown would not just affect the daily operation of faculty, staff, students, but also the various species of animals housed on campus. To prepare for the shutdowns, Woodward coordinated carefully planned Methods of Procedure (MOPs) on each piece of equipment which detailed shutdown activities and durations. The MOP also detailed which subs were responsible for that piece of equipment, who specifically would be working on shutting down the existing system and completing the tie-in procedure for the new system. The shutdowns ran anywhere from 10 minutes to 14 hours. Woodward field leaders were responsible for giving accurate durations to the LSUHSC and associated staff on how long each shutdown would last.
Fire Protection Systems
Related to the critical MEP work was the fire protection system improvements and relocation from the ground level to the 2nd floor. The scope included removal, replacement, and relocation of 2 existing fire pumps, all sprinkler heads and piping. Because of the safety concerns of being without sprinkler/fire protection during these activities, Woodward field leadership worked closely with LSUHSC facilities to inform them of the down time for extra precautions. We also worked with the fire protection subcontractor to minimize each down period to no longer than 4 hours per switch.