This is the seventh in a series of Blog posts related to the design and construction of the Banner University Medical Center new hospital in Tucson, Arizona.
As the hospital building exterior framework nears completion, Schuff Steel organizes the “Topping Off” ceremony which includes speeches, “topping off” hats, and the ceremonial last beam signed by project and hospital staff before hoisting it in place.
Although the building construction continues at a rapid pace, there is still lots of activity in the BIG Room with user group meetings, BIM (Building Information Modeling) systems to coordinate, and all the related project estimating and documentation requirements:
The BIG Room is also filled with big characters who help keep us focused, on-track and in good spirits. They also remind us that despite the demands of developing a large complex building, it’s important to have fun - whether it’s during a report-out or to create a shrine to weird food and multi-tasking in our shared kitchen.
The BIG Room and its talented collection of personalities is truly an experience. Thankfully I got to enjoy this short time with some dedicated and fun people.
This is the sixth in a series of Blog posts related to the design and construction of the Banner University Medical Center new hospital in Tucson, Arizona.
For several months now the two large cranes have been hoisting the steel members up to the new hospital framework at a rapid rate. Our BIG Room team are now fully distracted with watching not just the motion of the cranes, but also the dexterity and movements of the ironworkers as they dance around the steel framework on narrow flanges of steel or sometimes simply standing on safety wires. Although each worker is secured with harnesses and self-retracting lifelines, it’s a precarious job and fascinating to watch. The steel members on the ground are laid out in an organized manner for their ultimate position in the building. Workers on the ground secure cables to the steel members to be lifted into place by a crane and then ironworkers on the edge of the building frame use a tagline rope to control the beams and ease the steel member into place. When the steel is close to the point of connection, ironworkers position the beams in place with the long pointed bar of a spud wrenches to align bolt holes. Then bolts are inserted and the wrench end is used to tighten the bolts. For “moment resisting” connections, where the steel members must resist a combination of tension and compression force, a team of welders makes the connection secure with deep penetrating welds. The ironworkers are also involved with installing metal decking for the concrete floors that are poured on the decking.
Terry bolting a steel member while safely suspended from a column. While I was studying his work, he told me after he came down that he was worried that I was a safety inspector, although he was sure he was doing everything correctly. Afterward, I tried to be less obvious while watching the ironworkers since they certainly did not need any distractions.
At a recent lunch with some of the ironworkers from Schuff Steel I learned a few things about their lives and risks. Aaron, a local ironworker, quickly but politely corrected my use of the term “steelworker” by explaining that “steelworkers” work in a steel fabrication shop preparing the steel members for use in the field. The “ironworkers” are the ones working outside on a building to erect, position, bolt, and weld the steel members into place. This hospital building that Aaron and his crew were working on is a unique project for them and for Tucson. Normally these highly specialized workers are on a job for a month and then they are off to the next one – often in another city. Our project will keep them steadily employed in one place for many months. In Tucson, there are just not that many steel frame buildings being constructed so for an ironworker in Tucson, the opportunity to stay in one place was a uniquely stable situation.
The jobs these guys do looks risky - and it is. Many of them told tales of their last or most serious falls, including Aaron's recent free fall of 35 feet resulting in both ankles getting broken, an arm penetrated by a spud wrench and multiple other serious injuries. He had a deep appreciation for doing a hospital project having spent so much time recovering in one.
With the BIG Room overlooking the steel framework, the BIG Room participants have a greater appreciation for the work of ironworkers. We are also constantly reminded that our work together is important for the patients and hospital staff who will soon inhabit the new hospital. Some of our patients occasionally get to watch the workers erect the building from their patient rooms. To help connect our pediatric patients to the project and to give them some distractions during their stay, some of our project team have introduced Pokémon characters into the building framework. It’s important to have some fun during a long and serious project.
This is the fifth in a series of Blog posts related to the design and construction of the Banner University Medical Center new hospital in Tucson, Arizona.
What requires 18 large flatbed trucks to be delivered…
…three days to assemble…
…requires other smaller versions of itself to get assembled…
…weighs 700,000 pounds when fully assembled...
...will be taller than any building in Tucson, and is decorated with Christmas lights…
…and had 50 members of the BIG ROOM celebrate the final assemble?
A BIG CRANE!
Manufactured in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, our BIG CRANE is a Manitowoc 2250 Series 3. These types of cranes are called “Lattice Boom Crawler” cranes meaning that they are not fixed “tower” cranes but can move around the site at 1 mph. Due to the excessive weight of the crane, it needs to be disassembled when moving across existing onsite utility tunnels and then reassembled to complete the steel erection of the new building. The crane has a 200-foot main boom and a 160-foot jib – which is 60 feet longer than a football field. At its full height, the crane is 400 feet tall. Christmas lights are installed on the boom of the crane with flashing strobe lights and an orange checkered flag at the highest point to alert helicopter pilots flying to our helipad around the crane. The crane is scheduled to place 80 pieces of steel each day and will be working on site with a second (even larger) crane for five months on the project site.
This is the third in a series of Blog posts related to the design and construction of the Banner University Medical Center new hospital in Tucson, Arizona.
We've had several important milestones and events to celebrate during the past couple of months. We finally scheduled the formal groundbreaking even though we've been under construction and "breaking ground" for several months. While it seems logical to have a project groundbreaking at the start of construction, these events are scheduling nightmares for those trying to coordinate the busy calendars of speakers. For our event, we wanted to include the leadership from the City of Tucson, the University of Arizona, and Banner Health, so this took considerable coordination. We finally got everyone scheduled for May 26. Here is the University's press release for the morning event:
Hospital physicians, staff, neighbors, UA leaders and community leaders are invited to attend a groundbreaking ceremony for the $400 million, nine-story tower at Banner – University Medical Center slated to open in early 2019.
Guest speakers include:
The nine-story tower is the centerpiece of $1 billion in construction undertaken by Banner Health in support of the UA Colleges of Medicine and academic medical centers in Tucson and Phoenix.
Ironically, we put the morning construction activities on-hold while we conducted the ceremonies on the construction site. We also prepared a series of display posters that included project information and several historic images illustrating the history of the project site including the time that the University supported a R.O.T.C. cavalry training site and a successful polo team. Since many of the speakers referenced the unique history of the site, it seemed that this was interesting to many of the participants.
There were several groups who participated in the ceremony of digging into the prepared soil with silver shovels including this sketch of the Banner University Medicine Division leadership team.
The other event we celebrated was the design team's completion of the "shell and core" set of drawings. This massive set of approximately 500 drawings included the building exterior "shell" and "core" interior elements that was submitted to the City of Tucson for review and permitting for the construction team to construct the envelope of the building. The Shepley Bulfinch and GLHN architectural team with AEI, their mechanical engineering team, and many others including input from the Sundt|DPR construction team and their trade partners did a remarkable job pulling together so many issues and challenges in such a short time. Having a BIG ROOM where we could all collaborate certainly contributed to the efficiency and success of the team. At our June 16th Thursday report-out, we took a moment to pose for a group picture sporting their "Foster Grants". The sunglasses became a trademark for this event after seeing a picture of architect Ned McKnight hiding his eyes after many long nights.
Another event last month was the first "Dress like Russ Day". For many months we have been admiring architect Russ Combs’ ability to show up in the BIG ROOM with outfits that defied any clothing tradition. He was the master of combining plaids and stripes, blending Hawaiian florals with east coast simplicity, and introducing styles to each other that were never intended to be in the same room. His contradictory and conflicting approach to apparel inspired us to have a special day to see if anyone could come close to matching or at least capturing some element of Russ's inspired dress code. Of course we had many attempts, but Russ "out –Russed" us all with a vintage Ralph Lauren Madras patch suit, bright orange socks, a Bazinga t-shirt, and topped off with a fedora. We did give Russ an opportunity to select a runner-up and thanks to a bright vintage 1960s tie made by my wife, I was awarded the runner-up prize to Russ. However, I suspect that I may have been given special consideration as the project owner's representative.
Celebrations are important – especially during a four year long project!
This is the second in a series of Blog posts related to the design and construction of the Banner University Medical Center new hospital in Tucson, Arizona.
The BIG ROOM has been busy since the last posting on May 3. We conducted a mini retreat that gave us an opportunity to revisit project goals, assess our progress and identify areas to re-focus. We also had a “Half-time” show where some of our team members showed off their talents including a couple of comics (to be expected in a group like this), a woodwind interlude with a flute and soprano saxophone, and yes, a review of some the BIG ROOM sketches.
However, the big activity was down below us as the building pad was created from the soil excavated from a storm water detention basin excavation and the new hospital’s caissons were drilled and poured. It was hard to capture the energy involved in drilling 50 feet underground, placing a rebar cage, and then pouring the caisson hole full of concrete. Still, it was a lively sight above ground with the colorful cranes, earth movers, and tall orange concrete pumpers. All this is foundation work needs to be done in June since the building’s steel framework starts to get erected in July. It’s an exciting time, working with the project team in the BIG ROOM, while a small army of workers and heavy equipment get the site ready for the building’s skeleton.
Of course the colorful equipment does not work without key people in the field like Jake or design and engineering staff like Laura who is captured here checking the field work and entering reports back in the BIG ROOM. We also have our weekly report-out sessions when we wrap up the week's activities and focus our priorities for the upcoming weeks as shown with the sketch of Brittany leading a BIG ROOM session.
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