Lightweight Concrete Forms Just The Prescription

Staff | September 28, 2010

Like its namesake, the Audie L. Murphy Memorial Veterans Hospital in San Antonio is known to be first among its peers in serving. Audie Murphy was the most decorated soldier in World War II. The hospital, built in 1973 as a component of the South Texas Medical Center, dedicates 28,000 square feet to medical investigations. Dental-implant procedures were pioneered by the facility for the entire federal government. In 1988 the hospital was selected as a Geriatric Research Evaluation and Clinical Center site. Some significant programs established through sharing agreements include lung transplants, liver transplants, heart transplants, bone-marrow transplants, magnetic resonance imaging, linear accelerator treatment, and positron emission tomography. The 615-bed acute care facility also supports a 120-bed nursing home and a 30-bed Spinal Cord Injury Center.

Building Larger

A $10.5-million renovation project begun in November 2007 will add 50,000 square feet to the hospital's existing footprint. The project received funding in July 2007 from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), who awarded the construction contract to McGoldrick Construction Services Corp. of San Antonio.

With the largest part of the formwork scheduled for completion in April 2008, McGoldrick Construction worked to meet the hospital's goal of a timely completion.

The design called for beams to be cantilevered beyond the building's perimeter. Contractor McGoldrick Construction chose Doka USA to supply the concrete forms. The cantilevered design was achieved by placing 10 kip towers offset with tiebacks.

McGoldrick also selected approximately 4,600 square feet of Doka's Frami formwork to form the core walls and beam sides. The base walls were 7 feet, 6 inches high and 12 inches wide. The system's modular design allows for unlimited possible combinations in both width and height. Panels can be used either upright or horizontally, and the 6-inch increment together with the steel fillers offers optimum adaptability of the formwork to the dimensions of the structure.

After pouring the core additions, the job will be completed by wrapping the steel beams and columns with concrete. The shoring supporting the beams has a 10-kip load, providing stability until the concrete has hardened. The Frami panel frames are made of torsion resistant hollow-section steel profiles, and the solid construction and asymmetrical position of the ties allows full liquid head pours up to 9 feet with only two ties.

Because Doka's Frami panels are lightweight and can be erected quickly and easily by hand, McGoldrick Construction was able to avoid additional cost and time involved in using cranes to move and lift the formwork. The system provided the contractor with a quick, cost-effective means to construct the perimeter of the building with easy assembly. Because panel connection is possible with only three lightweight Frami clamps per 9-foot vertical joint, McGoldrick saved time and labor costs as well with these panels.

To ensure safety on site, Doka provided handrail clamps that act as a universal barrier for all platforms, slab edges and deck openings. The company also provides three safety tie-off handles per 9 feet of panel, meeting OSHA requirements and enhancing construction crew security while working.