Linbeck Group led construction on the $16.2-million University of Texas Southwestern Moncrief Cancer Institute in Fort Worth.

This 64,000-sq-ft facility houses medical treatment rooms and services for cancer patients and doctors associated with the medical school. The center serves the social, emotional and physical needs of individuals with cancer and enhances their support network.

The project, completed in October 2012, faced many challenges through design and construction, among them a unique exterior facade that features patterns symbolizing the individual nature of each patient's treatment needs.

It is comprised of "a terra-cotta clay tile from Portugal, featured as the first vertical installation in the United States," says Sean Ashcroft, project manager with Linbeck.

"The building envelope is a rain-screen system that afforded opportunities to plan the enclosure waterproofing details early and required extensive detailing-review meetings, which included all of the envelope-trade contractors," Ashcroft says.

"Exacting tolerances were identified and executed to allow installation of all system components [as with] the 1-ft by 3-ft terra-cotta tile dimensions, which could not be delivered or installed until after the other trades work was complete," he adds.

Custom stainless-steel clips were also engineered for vertical support of the tiles, and all components in the exterior envelope had to be sized to fit without cutting the tiles themselves.

Other challenges included "a tight schedule, long lead materials and a shipping process, which left the materials outside of our control on the ocean, weather impacts and a host of other issues, all of which we are proud to have executed this project in spite of," Ashcroft says.

"Our success was tied directly to great communication at all levels, which allowed everyone the opportunity to respond to the new challenge that arose on a daily basis. Communication will continue to be one of the greatest challenges in any project," he adds.

Linbeck's team was able to use its lean operating system to help streamline communications among trades and create a set of visual-display planning boards.

"We had great success in our trade communications by inviting the trades to plan their work in a very public setting and discuss the outcomes and ramifications of activities with their peers," Ashcroft says. "This culminated in excellent inter-trade communication and added to any success we may have achieved."

Key Players

Owner UT Southwestern Moncrief Cancer Institute, Fort Worth

General Contractor Linbeck Group LLC, Fort Worth

Lead Design/Structural HKS Inc., Dallas

Civil Dunaway Associates LP, Fort Worth

MEP Henderson Engineers Inc., Addison, Texas

Landscape Architect Caye Cook and Associates, Dallas