Construction Today - January 2017 - 100
Institutional | BENCHMARK CONSTRUCTION - LANCASTER GENERAL HOSPITAL EXPANSION
The scope of the expansion added to that
challenge. The project is not only growing
the building vertically by six floors, but also
enlarging it to the east and south. The additions must tie into the existing structure,
which required Benchmark to remove parts
of the exterior, weatherproof the exposed
areas and take temporary measures to
maintain the integrity of the structure until
the new pieces were in place.
"Working within the existing facility to
do that retrofit work was definitely one of
the bigger challenges," Flynn explains.
To lessen the impact to the operational
parts of the hospital, Benchmark holds
daily risk analysis meetings and conducts
walkthroughs with hospital personnel
to identify areas that may be impacted
by the day's job list. The company also
makes on-the-fly adjustments. If a surgeon
performing an operation is distracted by
construction noise, Benchmark shuts down
activities until it is clear to continue. "We
remain flexible and considerate of those
types of things," Flynn says.
Benchmark's flexibility and problem
solving skills help it deal with the logistics
challenges of construction outside the hospital building as well. Lancaster General is
located in the heart of downtown Lancaster
and along a major thoroughfare, Lime
Street. Because of its connections with the
greater transportation system, Lime Street is
a Pennsylvania Department of Transportation road, not a city road. To access the project, Benchmark worked with PennDOT to
coordinate lane shutdowns on Lime Street
and shift parking lanes to make room for
equipment and materials drop offs. "We had
to be creative about how to create a delivery
lane for all the traffic coming in and out of
the project site," Flynn says.
Traffic was only one of the logistical
factors Benchmark had to consider. The
company also took care to protect underground utilities and had to build a tower
crane to serve the project. The erect the
crane, Benchmark had to shut down a city
block for a weekend and use an even larger
500 ton crane to assemble the tower.
Engaging the Entire Team
How Benchmark is delivering the project is
helping it to stay within budget. The contract for the hospital expansion calls for it
to be built using the construction manager
at-risk method, which sets a maximum
price for the project.
Benchmark is using its own crew when
possible to keep costs in check. About 20
Benchmark employees are part of the workforce on the project. That enabled Benchmark to self-perform about 4 percent of the
total work, including pouring the concrete
foundations and completing the retrofit of
the existing columns so that the structure
could support the necessary weight to
expand vertically. "There are inherent risks
with some of this work that we only feel
comfortable performing ourselves due to
the potential impact to patients and staff,"
Benchmark is using its own
crew whenever possible to keep
the project's costs in check.
CONSTRUCTION-TODAY.COM JANUARY 2017
Still, subcontractors are completing
the bulk of the work. All other trade work
was bid out to local firms based in central
Pennsylvania, many of which were called
upon to aid in the design. The subcontractors handling the electrical systems, exterior
façade, steel, curtain walls and panelized
EIFS walls were brought in as design-assist
partners to help facilitate design completion
and keep costs in check.
"When we encountered challenges, we
were able to work on it as a cohesive team
rather than a group of individual entities
looking out for their own interests," Flynn
says of the process.
The challenges overcome during Lancaster General's hospital project demonstrate
how Benchmark executes its core values of
loyalty, integrity, leadership and balance.
The company strives to distinguish itself
through customer service by understanding
what's important to the client and incorporating those things into its approach
to the project. "We're trying to streamline
everything we can to maximize the owner's
resources and our own," Flynn says.
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