McCarthy Building Companies recently broke ground on Kaiser Permanente’s Hesperia Medical Office Building in the California high desert community of Hesperia, about 80 miles east of Los Angeles. The 54,000 sq-ft medical office building is scheduled to open in 2021 and will include prefabricated elements including exterior and interior wall panels built to reduce the construction duration.

The architect is Cannon Design and structural engineer on the project is KPFF.

Before construction began on the medical office building, the existing project site was a native desert which included plant species consisting of Joshua Trees, salt bush scrub, Ambrosia Acanthicarpa, Salazaria Mexicana and California Juniper.

Prior to breaking ground on the project, McCarthy relocated 14 Joshua Trees, so they wouldn’t be impacted by construction. To preserve and protect the endangered species, they were pre-watered and then moved to new locations.

Before being moved, the trees had to be surveyed and then a relocation plan was created to manage the clearing of the site vegetation in a way that would not harm them. The healthy Joshua Trees, ranging from 2’ tall to 22’ tall, were relocated for future use on a portion of the site that will be developed in a later phase. Three of the trees will be utilized in development of Phase 1, while those remaining are available for adoption or incorporation into the site development of Phase 2. 

McCarthy’s subcontractor BrightView will be responsible for the maintenance of the transplanted trees, which includes irrigation, weeding and herbivore control.

Kaiser Permanente’s new Hesperia Medical Office will be a three-story medical office building that will include 30 provider offices featuring primary and specialty care services, including Family Medicine, Pediatrics, OB/GYN, Cardiology and Physical Therapy among many others. Additional on-site services such as a pharmacy and laboratory will also be a part of the new office building layout, providing advanced facilities and increased accessibility for patients and the surrounding area.

One of the most interesting challenges on the project is working with a large amount of prefabrication, says David Alford, McCarthy project director. Because of this, McCarthy has been collaborating almost every facet of the project with remote and off-site teaming prior to the building permit being issued to ensure issues are resolved on an accelerated basis, he says

“Since most of the work is occurring off-site prior to subcontractors mobilizing to the project site, it is important that the coordination with other trades is complete and accurate,” says Alford. “This approach creates a higher level of BIM coordination early on to evaluate, coordinate and confirm design decisions. The management of this target value design process was supported by the Integrated Project Delivery contract.”

To ensure accurate coordination among partners, the project team was broken down into Project Integration Teams (PIT), with the leadership of each PIT team led by the primary stakeholder of each team. For example, the interiors are led by the architect, and the enclosure (prefab exterior panels, etc) is led by Phoenix-based Digital Building Components. “This truly gives our partners the opportunity to own the process and lead their portion of the project,” says Alford.   

Digital Building Components is fabricating the exterior EIFS panels in Arizona. Newport Beach, Calif-based Corporate Business Interiors is fabricating the prefab modular interior wall panels for floors 2 and 3 in Arizona and Canada. And Pleasanton, Calif-based ConXTech is fabricating the structural steel and installation in Hayward, Calif.

Alford says prefabrication was used on this Kaiser Permanente project to drive both cost and schedule performance, while maintaining a quality product. “We have utilized the prefabrication process before with most of these contractors. McCarthy is tracking with the industry trend towards more pre-fabrication and modularized solutions,” he says.

“To set ourselves up for success with this approach, the team has had to adjust traditional processes to ensure we are receiving decisions promptly enough to be able to integrate them into the prefab components long lead time,” says Alford. “Trades that are typically coordinated later in the process have had integrations with prefab components, which made it necessary to bring them to the design forefront earlier than expected.”

The prefab method will improve the project schedule over that of traditional systems by two to three months, or roughly 20 percent, says Alford.