US Dept. of Veterans Affairs Corpus Christi Outpatient Center
Corpus Christi, Texas
EXCELLENCE IN SAFETY AWARD
Submitted by: Jacobsen Construction Co.
Owner: US Federal Properties
Lead Design Firm: Hoefer Welker
General Contractor: Jacobsen Construction Co.
This federal project recorded a rate of zero for both its OSHA recordable incident rate and lost-time accident rate. These pristine safety numbers come from a project of nearly 18,800 work hours with as many as 300 people on site at a given time.
“This success came down to each worker’s personal commitment to creating a thriving safety culture,” Jacobsen Construction noted in its Best Projects submittal. “Expectations were set early on with a required project-specific safety training for all workers that discussed anticipated risks and mitigation strategies” and a constant dialogue about the importance of safety.
Additionally, every time workers switched to a new task, they were required to complete a task plan risk analysis. Team members were also required to hold weekly safety meetings to look in depth at one specific safety issue.
The pandemic became a safety issue during the construction of the outpatient VA Center. In response, “careful planning was done to balance the need for substantial manpower on the project with the need to practice social distancing,” the general contractor said, adding that it distanced craftworkers and ensured masks were worn during peak periods.
Photo courtesy Jacobsen Construction Co.
Jacobsen enacted a special sick leave program to ensure employees did not feel any undue pressure to come to work while experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and set similarly strict expectations with the project’s subcontractors.
The new VA clinic replaces a much smaller one, with the new facility providing mental health services as well as a greater focus on women’s health.
One of the project’s most poignant aspects was the creation of a Wall of Honor where workers placed photos of family members and friends who served in the military, thereby reminding everyone who this clinic was being built for.
The project’s biggest challenge was the installation of the numerous building systems, including plumbing, electrical, surgery gases, patient room controls, security systems and fire safety.
To accomplish this, the general contractor used BIM to perform clash detection, plan tasks and ensure all systems would be reliably functional.