UW Health 1 S. Park Pharmacy Prefabrication Lift

The pharmacy at UW Health 1 S. Park had become outdated and needed a remodel to meet code standards. The challenge? The pharmacy is located on the fourth floor of a seven-floor building and required a new air handler. To achieve this project on time and in budget, our team relied on close communication, coordination, and planning upfront and throughout the process.

To save time and on our budget, the team decided to use prefabrication on the structure of the HVAC unit which houses the duct work, two exhausts and one supply wrapped in insulation. The structure itself needed to be lifted over an occupied building, reaching 40 feet long and weighing 8,600 pounds. To achieve this, the field dimensions had to be perfect because even a half inch off would have a negative effect. In addition, we had to have an accurate weight before we started the process of lifting the equipment and selecting the correct size crane.

After sitting down with the HVAC company, structural supplier, electrician, rigging company, owner, architect, engineer, HVAC installation company, and exterior cladding installer we were able to come up with a plan to ensure the lift was successful and everything would fit in its intended space. Working in an occupied space carries a high risk, so lifting heavy equipment over this building had to be closely coordinated and thoughtfully planned. In addition, we reviewed our plan with the owner prior to the project starting. For 5 weeks we met weekly to review and update the plan to ensure all the safety items were addressed before we started. It was crucial that all occupants of the facility were always safe and that people were cleared out the building prior to operations starting.

To ensure this was a smooth process, we used traffic control to control the occupied building, vehicles going in and out, foot traffic and monitored the area to keep any pedestrians out. The scheduling was crucial because of the close corners were working in. This required just in time deliveries using hourly schedules so that our crane was set, and each item was coming at the time it was needed.

The outcome of the lift was a success. We were able to save on schedule, cutting two additional weeks out of the schedule that would have been needed if we did not use the prefabrication technique we did. We were able to reduce the cost on this part of the project by 36% and complete the prefabrication all in one day. An operation of this caliber can be daunting, but our team was able to complete the process in a perfect manner. Prefabrication in a healthcare environment has its challenges, but when done correctly the benefits can outweigh the risk.