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BIM+LEAN "A New Breed of Construction" (From DPR Newsletter Spring 2006)

Groundbreaking work on 250,000-sq.-ft. outpatient medical facility for Camino Medical Group showcases benefits of LEAN construction, paves way for new form of project delivery

Rising from the debris of an abandoned department store is a new 250,000-sq.-ft. medical office building that will not only provide progressive outpatient healthcare services but also, according to DPR's Dean Reed, set new standards in the design and construction of facilities.

The more than two-year project for Camino Medical Group (CMG), a division of the not-for-profit Palo Alto Medical Foundation, which is an affiliate of Sutter Health, is currently past the mid-way point and being delivered using LEAN construction techniques designed to maximize overall production value and reduce waste while maintaining the highest quality. Months before construction began in late February 2005, with the demolition of the vacant Emporium building on the 9.9 acre site in Mountain View, CA, the CMG project team, including the owner, architect, DPR and all major subcontractors, worked closely together to design the delivery process in conjunction with the facility—a key step in LEAN construction management.
"As a team, we broke down every step of the construction delivery process and examined ways to promote a more fluid transition, creating a better, more reliable work flow between various trades as work was handed off from one party to another," said Reed.

Virtual design and construction technologies, such as three-dimensional (3-D) and four-dimensional (4-D) models, also are being used throughout the project, along with LEAN construction practices. Early on, the virtual building models, which incorporate the element of time into 3-D computer-aided design drawings, helped communicate sequencing issues during design coordination, allowing the project team to best understand and take advantage of potential time and space conflicts. More recently, the virtual building models developed for the project have enabled subcontractors to prefabricate most of the MEP materials for a just-in-time delivery.

"Our use of virtual building technology, coupled with a LEAN approach, is resulting in a more efficient installation of MEP systems," said Reed. "The first section was completed in early February without any field issues, and based on conversations with many of our key subcontractors, the process has improved productivity by as much as 20 percent on this portion of the job."

The team anticipates that productivity will only increase.

"Usually the time estimated for MEP installations is based on people's previous experience, and we expect a small learning curve at the beginning that puts us slightly behind schedule," said DPR Superintendent Ralph Eslick. "The idea is that once we work out the initial 'kinks' in the process, productivity improves and the time is made up. In the case of CMG, we have the learning curve behind us, and we finished that portion ahead of schedule. It should only get better."

The project also includes simultaneous construction of a 400,000-sq.-ft. parking garage adjacent to the facility. The two structures take up 8.5 acres of the 9.9 acre lot, making for a very constricted construction site and creating an additional challenge for the project team.

"The accelerated schedule and tight site required a sophisticated, phased logistics plan," said Eslick. "We used the five months of the demolition and mass excavation phase of the project to plan every future step."

The team broke the parking garage into three phases, with the middle section finishing up last. As a result, the parking structure can be completed on time without impacting the critical path to the office building and limiting access to the site.

Once complete in February 2007, the new three-story medical office building will house offices, exam rooms, urgent care center, outpatient surgery center, pharmacy, laboratory and diagnostic radiology services, and according to CMG's CEO Richard Slavin, M.D., the new space will bring together nine of CMG's 15 clinics for "greater ease of access by nearly 200,000 patients."

Team Players
Client: Camino Medical Group
Architect: Hawley Peterson & Snyder Architects

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