Construction Crews Safely Remove Wall for Spanning Structure
One of the most difficult and dangerous tasks in the construction of the Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento expansion project is near completion, reports construction contractor, The Boldt Company.
Sutter General Hospital and the new Anderson Lucchetti Women’s and Children’s Center will be connected by a unique, three-story spanning structure on the second, third and fourth floors. Steel for the spanning structure was erected over L Street in 2011, but it has yet to be connected to Sutter General Hospital. In order to tie into the existing hospital, precast exterior panels forming a large portion of Sutter General’s southern wall had to be removed.
“On a scale of 1 to 10, it was a 9 out of 10 on danger,” said Brian Baudot, a foreman with Boldt construction partner Austerman. “There was no room for error.”
Austerman was in charge of getting the panels down from the building safely. After numerous meetings between Austerman and Boldt staff, a plan of action was adopted.
The panels, weighing about 15,000 pounds each, needed to be removed in sections. The first panel took four or five days to remove.
“If we would have cut it in the wrong way, the whole thing would have crashed down,” Baudot said.
To ensure safety, Austerman removed the panels selectively in 1,500-pound pieces with a forklift that has a capacity of 2,000 pounds.
“It required a lot of heavy, heavy coordination between everybody,” said Pete Tinoco, Boldt’s superintendent on the major remodel of Sutter General Hospital. “We had guys inside and outside at the same time, keeping an eye on the panels as they were moving, just to make sure they didn’t hang up on something and create a fall hazard.”
Because of this, communication was vital. Each panel piece required a different process of removal. It was difficult to have any kind of standard process in place.
The largest panel to be removed in one piece weighed more than 8,000 pounds. It was removed from the third floor with chain falls, a boom lift and the tower crane.
Having a very narrow bay to work in added to the challenging task.
“We didn’t have a lot of latitude for moving, or for equipment that we would have rather used,” Baudot said.
Even with all the challenges, all panels from the first, second and third floors were removed safely, on time and on schedule. Boldt and Austerman workers are now awaiting the go-ahead from the California Office of Statewide Health Planning & Development, or OSHPD, to safely remove the panels from the fourth floor of Sutter General. With that accomplished, construction crews can then finish the spanning structure by finishing the spanning structure and connecting the two hospitals. When the expansion project is completed in late 2013, this spanning structure will seamlessly connect all of Sutter Medical Center’s acute-care services under one roof.