Once the vertical expansion was enclosed, McCarthy renovated the 12th floor and turned it back to MD Anderson for patient care. The firm brought the entire facility up to code, from moving plumbing and drain lines on entire floors to performing more than 700 shutdowns, which included existing hospital electrical circuits and emergency feeds for a few hours. "What made it more complicated was the work we did inside the existing hospital as well," Johanneman says.

At each floor, McCarthy tied in the new structure with the old, completed renovations and wrapped the existing sheer walls with a carbon-fiber reinforced polymer. That required installing temporary partitions, removing drywall and applying the fiber. Inside the elevator shaft, crews would stand on top of the cab to apply the fiber to the inside of the concrete sheer walls.

Noise and vibrations were a concern, especially during interior work and when removing mastic from the original roof. Noisy operations were done in 15-minute increments—15 minutes on, 15 minutes off—to minimize disruption to patients and staff while creating the added challenge of staying on schedule.

Hospital employees credit contractor communication. In addition to formal weekly meetings, Sisolak points to McCarthy's efforts to establish relationships with floor nurses. "Most effective was getting the nurse managers or person in charge of the department in direct contact with our superintendents overseeing working in the field," Johanneman says. "We had them stop by before every shift and tell them what was going on that shift and give them a business card. If it was too disruptive, they could call. Often they would come up with a plan on the spot to get our work done with the least disruption."

Through it all, the stakeholders worked closely together to ensure access for the contractors with minimal disruption to patient care.

"This will give MD Anderson more space to treat more people, and that's the true benefit," Johanneman says. "It's pretty fulfilling to know what you are building is going to serve a purpose like that."

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Albert B. and Margaret M. Alkek Expansion, Houston

Owner: The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston

General Contractor: McCarthy Building Cos., Houston

Lead Design: HKS Architects, Dallas

Structural: Walter P Moore Engineers + Consultants, Houston

MEP: CCRD Partners, Houston

Submitted by:

McCarthy Building Cos.