UC Davis Surgical Center – A Look Inside the Box

UC Davis Health Systems in Sacramento, Calif., was in urgent need of more surgical space. Medical advances had led to a massive increase in demand for outpatient surgeries, and existing facilities were bursting at the seams. The solution to the dilemma was found in an accelerated form of construction provided by design-build general contractor Accelerated Construction Technologies (ACT), based in Phoenix.

ACT used modular construction methods to build the 12,231 SF UC Davis Same Day Surgical Center, which included booms and lights with integrated audio-visual components to support most modern surgical techniques, allow teleconferencing, and Web casting from surgical suites for educational purposes. Overall project costs were $9 million to $10 million, including finishes, furnishings and medical equipment. However, construction costs alone only accounted for $3.8 million.

UC’s Same Day Surgical Center features 12 pre- and post-operative beds, as well as a waiting area for patients and families. Construction began in October 2006, and the campus opened in the beginning of November 2007. The center performs primarily ophthalmic, orthopedic, otolaryngology and plastic surgery procedures in four operating suites.

Site Prep & Factory Construction

Murray and Downs, a Sacramento-based architecture firm, drafted the preliminary design for the campus. ACT created the final design and construction blueprints, which it adapted to meet its modular construction method.

Construction began at the ACT manufacturing facility, while the slab foundation and infrastructure were prepared on-site at the campus. At the factory, the steel structure, custom wall panels, roof panels, electrical conduit and gear, plumbing pipe, fire sprinklers, and special systems conduits were installed to accommodate OSHPOD and UC Davis specifications for medical gases, air ventilation standards, vibration criteria, seismic requirements and existing chiller plant compatibility.

While the surgical center is a stand-alone building, the mechanical systems had to be connected with existing nearby structures. ACT, UC Davis Construction and Project Management Division, and a full staff of university engineers worked together to accomplish the project goals.

Craig Sorenson, vice president at ACT, says, “Compatibility and the ever-evolving project scope were the biggest project challenges. We were able to overcome these challenges with careful planning and a completely informed team.”

Campus Construction

When the factory reached approximately 60% completion on the building, it was disassembled into modules, wrapped and then transported from Phoenix to California. At the UC Davis campus, a field installation crew craned each module into place over the completed infrastructure. Under-slab plumbing and electrical that had already been in place was connected, and the building was welded to steel plates located in the slab. The factory’s brace steel, placed around the modules to keep the structure stiff during craning, was removed and returned to the Phoenix factory to be used on another building. The final touches for the new campus development included interior finishes and special systems installation.

While 13 months seems like a fast turnaround for a medical building of this level of sophistication, Sorenson says, “A typical project of this magnitude would take approximately 9 months for ACT to build — a mere blip on the timeline of traditional construction. We experienced delays to accommodate change orders, but overall we feel this project is a tremendous success.”

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AZRE Magazine November/December 2009