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Saint Luke’s East Hospital Flex Capacity Expansion: Single Source Approach Helps P1 Group Navigate Timely Challenges

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P1 Group has been serving the healthcare community both locally and nationally with single-source facility solutions for many years, and our recent work on the Saint Luke’s East Hospital Flex Capacity Expansion is no exception. The SLE Expansion project will address the hospital’s need for growth by expanding the emergency department. It includes a small renovation of the ER waiting room, but the bulk of the job is the construction of additional ER patient rooms.

P1 is putting virtual design and construction, fabrication, and mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and technologies construction (MEPT) capabilities to work, all while navigating new safety mandates and challenges due to COVID-19. Although P1 has done MEPT projects before, this will be the first MEPT project in the Kansas City metro area. The project has only been underway about five months, but Senior Project Manager Eric Affolter has already noticed a difference in the efficiency with which the project is progressing. “Having all trades within the company working together has really increased the level of communication and efficiency you just can’t get when you work with multiple entities,” Eric said. “Especially with all the COVID-19 guidelines we are now required to follow.” The SLE Expansion project is scheduled for completion in April of 2021.

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Each P1 Group trade has brought their specific expertise to the scope.

Mechanical: New air handling unit to support the expansion, including the associated duct work, zones, controls, heating hot water to support the new Variable Air Volume (VAV) control boxes zones

Plumbing: New underground plumbing and plumbing fixtures to support the new emergency department exam rooms, and new medical gas for each patient room

Electrical: Transformer and generator replacements, tying in existing structure to new construction and adding state-of-the-art lighting for the helipad

Technology: Temporary ambulance bay setups, relocation of existing operational Fire Alarm panels to temporarily allow access to corridors, and coordinating the re-routing of existing outside fiber infrastructure for the expansion of the new Emergency Department in order to maintain services

Fabrication: Fabricating all ductwork and hangers out of P1 Group’s Lawrence, KS, fabrication facility, with plans to fabricate as much piping and electrical as possible

Virtual Design and Construction: 3D modeling for all the piping, which is the basis to formulate all fabrication for the field

As with every P1 project, safety is the highest priority, but tackling this project during the time of COVID-19 requires an even greater increase in safety protocol.

Across all trades, P1 has anywhere from 22-26 employees on site each day and all are required to wear masks and check in with the general contractor for tracking purposes in the event of an exposure.

If for some reason associates must enter the hospital, they proceed through the hospital check stations and adhere to hospital protocol.

As critical environments, hospitals always present their own challenges for construction and service, but adding COVID-19 to the mix meant making even more changes.

For example, prior to beginning construction, the design team and the owner had to have a brainstorming session for ideas to decrease exposure in these new rooms, so it was decided return air VAVs would be put in all new patient rooms. The VAV regulates the volume of air to the zone by opening and closing the damper through the controls system. This allows the ability to make each room a negative air room.

Even during the construction, it is vital that the Emergency Department remain operational, so the P1 Group Technologies Division, headed by Registered Communications Distribution Designer David Becerra, helped meet this challenge by setting up the temporary ambulance bays.

“As with any healthcare facility, we had to ensure continued round-the-clock operations, so much planning and precautions were put in place,” said David.

David’s team brought their expertise to help relocate fire alarm panels and work with fiber infrastructure to keep things operational during the construction and expansion of the Emergency Department. “Seeing so many of P1’s trades working together is a strength the general contractor has been impressed with,” Eric said. “Other than fire protection, we were pretty much all in-house, which is nice because it gives us the opportunity to communicate with each other quickly, coordinate immediately, and not have to wait for a meeting to coordinate with other trades outside of our own company.”

Eric says there is a lot of optimism that this approach, and the success of this project, will greatly benefit the general contracting community, and continue to give P1 Group its competitive edge in the near future.

P1 Group Saint Luke's East

Project Team

Eric Affolter, Senior Project Manager/Mechanical, Plumbing

Jason Larson, Project Manager/Sheet Metal

Mike Hutchinson, Senior Project manager/Electrical

David Becerra, RCDD, Superintendent/Technology

Bret Farris, Virtual Design & Construction (VDC) Manager

Pam Nolte, Brandon Rudd, Steve Farve, James Daugherty, Nate Littlejohn, Steve Gray, Ross Boatright, VDC

Chris Lauver, Plumbing Foreman

Gary Klunder, Sheet Metal Foreman

Brooks Peek, Pipefitter Foreman

Shawn Quenzer, Electrical Foreman

Jeff King, Building Technologies Foreman

Andy Hess, Building Technologies Foreman

Dan Tylski, Garrett Parker, Charles Plotner, Kristi Berglund, Jay Thiesen, Central Estimating

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