Two things come to mind for Micah Parker, executive project manager for Skanska's San Jose Regional Medical Center Addition and Renovation Project, when asked about issues that are helping the construction effort. The first is overall conditioning of crews by way of morning group-stretching exercises before starting work.
"The numbers are showing us that it has decreased the number of soft tissue injuries," he said. "When we first implemented the program, we got some skeptical looks from some of the seasoned construction crews. But surprisingly, they've jumped on board." They actually enjoy it now, and it seems to be starting to take hold in the industry, he added.
"It's also a chance for everybody to get together and talk about the work day ahead and plan it out a bit. We feel so strongly about this exercising that we've implemented it nationwide, on all of our projects." Not just Skanska construction crews, but office staff and subcontractors all join together in the parking lot before work every day, Parker said.
The second is a simple but highly effective installation technique developed by Rosendin Electric, the electrical subcontractor on the job.
"We have used 1,500 linear feet of pre-fabricated conduit duct bank. It was configured on-grade, at eye level, rather than having to work at connecting it in a 6-foot trench. This has saved our construction efforts a significant amount of time on this project," he said. The pre-fab conduits are in clusters ranging from three conduits up to 20 conduits in 40-foot sections.
Parker foresees the construction industry moving more in the direction of pre-fabrication. "Now that we have computer modeling/designing, we are able to look at individual components of construction. Rosendin Electric, our electrical subcontractor, was able to model from the computer, and from the model build templates by which to pre-fabricate things."
There are roughly 130 people on site at any given time on this $97-million project. Night work is minimized due to labor costs; that work is limited to critical switchovers to minimize disruption to the existing hospital.
California Builder & Engineer had more questions for Skanska about the San Jose Regional Medical Center project:
CB&E: Are special construction techniques being used?
- Very innovative conduit duct bank prefab
- Deep storm sewer. To be able to do this while keeping the hospital working without disruptions and to discover where other utilities are located while excavating trenches ...
- Negative air machines for work in occupied areas (owner commitment)
CB&E: What are your major construction challenges?
Skanska: Any time you are constructing a new building or renovating on an existing hospital campus there are challenges; for instance, on this project:
- Work near air intakes
- Traffic changes
- Site fire line installation
- Work in roads
The balance of production on the project and the environment of care for the hospital requires Skanska staff to continually keep in mind the impact of our operations on the hospital.
CB&E: What are you doing about safety issues?
We have a regimented safety program on site, this includes the following:
- Our IFE culture: We believe that all injuries are preventable and the establishment of an injury-free environment is paramount to a successful project.
- All subcontractors, prior to work commencing, meet with Skanska staff for a pre-construction safety meeting.
- All workers on-site participate in a safety orientation tailored to the project's specific hazards.
- There is a project safety team including representatives from all subcontractors to ensure that all perspectives are included in our safety management.
- Regular toolbox meetings are attended by all workers no less than weekly.
- Skanska participates daily in stretching before work begins; in addition to this there is time afterward dedicated to hazard analysis for the day's work.
- All subcontractors on-site participate weekly with Skanska field management in a foreman's safety meeting.
- The onsite Safety Coordinator, Stacie Williams, makes and personally distributes brownies to the craft force each Friday if it's been an injury free week.
- Regular luncheons are held with all the trades.
CB&E: Why was Skanska chosen for the project/what are some of your experience points?
The Skanska team has a history of performance on similar projects for this client. There are long-standing relationships within the teams between the owner, designers and Skanska.
CB&E: Who are the main subcontractors on the project?
FW Spencer and Sons (Mechanical and Plumbing)
Rosendin Electric (Electrical)
Performance Contracting (Drywall/EIFS)
Maya Steel (Structural Steel and misc. Iron)
Graniterock Pavex (Site Development)
CB&E: Final Comments?
Our presence on the site is all about providing health care services to the community. Our operations are all about protecting people and making sure the sick are in no way adversely affected by our work.
Construction began on early site development packages in 2005. Completion is scheduled for late 2009.