Press Release: 12.04.2014

Construction Completes Five Months Early at St. Jude Medical Center

The design-build team of Petra Integrated Construction Strategies (Petra ICS), McCarthy and Taylor Design recently completed construction of the St. Jude Medical Center Northwest Tower in Fullerton, Calif. The new $228 million (construction cost) healthcare facility, which opened in November 2014, was completed five months early and more than 10% under the original construction budget. Collaborative delivery and progressive construction technology positively impacted the quality, schedule and budget on this complex healthcare facility.

Located on the northern side of the St. Jude Medical Center campus at Bastanchury Road and Harbor Boulevard, the new tower replaces an existing tower and meets California’s strict seismic requirements for both the structure as well as its contents.

An integral part of the multi-phased Master Plan at the medical center, the project included construction of a 200,000-square-foot, 4-story acute care building and a 14,000-square-foot central utility plant. A bridge was also constructed at the new tower’s fourth floor connecting it to the existing hospital. Prior to construction of the tower, McCarthy performed seven months of major utility work and demolished an existing medical records building and parking garage. New surface parking and street improvements were also conducted. Along with architect International Parking Design of Irvine, Calif., McCarthy added 215 parking spaces to an existing 455-car parking structure that the firm built in 2004.

“The Northwest Tower displays design function, as well as incorporates evidence-based strategies for patient services to reduce stress, length of stay, and enhance communication between caregivers and patients. These strategies not only provide an optimal care environment for healing, but also support St. Jude Medical Center’s commitment to patient dignity, the human spirit, and creating healthy communities,” explains Neal Rinella, Taylor Design’s principal-in-charge.

“Two primary uses with different requirements are components of the Northwest Tower addition. These include technologically cutting-edge surgical suites as well as spaces for patient care, healing and recovery,” Rinella further commented.

Supporting the latest in medical care, the 120-bed tower features computers for medical use in every patient room, 14 operating rooms with “smart” surgical suites, the newest innovations in minimally invasive and robotic surgeries, and advanced information systems allowing immediate clinical collaboration. Further cutting-edge technology includes: a Neurosurgery Suite with an intra-operative MRI integrated with BrainLab’s newest technology; a Cardiovascular Hybrid room with robotic C-arm; a Cardiovascular Suite; dedicated orthopedic rooms and Integrated General Surgery Suites.

The lower-level exterior is clad in horizontally stacked metal panels with two finishes, pierced by small punched windows. The window grouping at the third floor features a ‘DNA band,’ with varying glass widths and multiple colors wrapping the building. This band brings generous light into the building, critical for a patient’s sense of well-being.

Moving upward, large patient room windows establish the basic design rhythm. Terra Cotta sun-controlling window shades provide interior shade and animate the elevation with the sun’s movement. An exterior courtyard healing garden at the fourth floor provides calming views from patient rooms, and offers a respite for patients, visitors and staff. This large garden is visible through a floor-to-ceiling glass curtain wall at each end of the space.

In keeping with the social sustainability goals of the project, the new tower incorporates many environmentally sustainable features such as an energy efficient building envelope, which incorporates high performance window glazing, sunshading and well-insulated walls and roof. Mechanical systems also improve energy efficiency by utilizing a 100% outside air system with heat recovery that yields superior indoor air quality and infection control.

“To meet the challenges of this state-of-the-art hospital, we have utilized the latest advancements in design and construction technology and have effectively harnessed the talents of an experienced and collaborative team through integrated design-build delivery,” said McCarthy Project Director Holly Cindell.

“The progressive design-build form of delivery implemented on the St. Jude Tower included IPD ‘lite’ terms and conditions with unique contractual incentives for the design team, contractors and subcontractors while still providing the certainty of a Guaranteed Maximum Price,” explains Cindell. “To receive these incentives, the project team needed to meet the owner’s goals for safety, budget, design, facility satisfaction, quality and schedule.”

A major challenge the team overcame was the original proposed location of the project. “Due to operational disruptions and the cost of phased construction, the project required a fresh approach,” said Cindell. “This was achieved with a new site location and revised scope that met all program needs, provided the opportunity for expanded services and advanced technology, and met the established budget and original schedule.”

The St. Jude Medical Center Northwest Tower project also benefited from the latest virtual construction and design technology. For example, BIM 3D, 4D and 5D were successfully used to tie the model to constructability, cost and schedule.

Furthermore, Bluebeam® Software solutions were used early in the project’s design and coordination phases to create an electronic plan room complete with all the basic design and construction documents. As the team adopted more advanced features within the software, the plan room evolved into a fully hyperlinked central hub of valuable project information including submittals, RFIs, coordinated models, schedules, forms, interactive virtual mock-ups, live quality control punch-lists, exterior and in-wall coordination, interior build-out and interference wall plans, mock-up lessons learned and documentation, and location specific links to photos. The electronic plan room was also available in the cloud where it was shared with subcontractors and designers and synchronized to the various networks, field kiosks and iPads giving the entire project team immediate access to complete, up-to-date and reliable information.

Utilizing this innovative delivery approach and forward-thinking technology, the project team effectively decreased the total project cost by 10% and completed the project under the original budget in spite of $12 million in added scope. Furthermore, this was all accomplished while meeting strict hospital, local and state requirements and bettering the project schedule by five months, even with a nine-month externally induced project delay associated with the entitlements.

“Our team has worked together on other projects, but this has been the most collaborative design and construction effort that Petra ICS/St. Joseph Health System has achieved over the duration of our existence,” said Jim Bostic, vice president of operations for Petra ICS. “It is a model project for best practices in the use of virtual design and construction and the implementation of the design to construction process.”

About McCarthy
At McCarthy Building Companies, Inc., we’re just getting started. For 150 years, McCarthy has been building communities across America, both by constructing essential projects communities rely on, as well as by helping those who need assistance. Knowing how to build from preconstruction through completion is a tradition that will continue as McCarthy endeavors to advance the value of its expertise and deliver the highest quality, job-site safety and ultimately, the best final project costs. McCarthy is ranked the largest healthcare builder in California (ENR California, July 2014).In addition to Newport Beach, McCarthy has offices in San Diego, Corona, Sacramento, San Francisco and San Jose, Calif.; St. Louis, Atlanta; Collinsville, Ill.; Portage, Ind.; Kansas City, Kan.; Phoenix; Las Vegas; Dallas, Houston; and Albuquerque. McCarthy is 100 percent employee owned.

About Taylor Design
Taylor Design is a full-service firm with practices in architectural, interiors, and strategies; with offices in northern and southern California, the 55-person firm has built a strong practice with a national reputation in the healthcare design industry, and is now poised to explore additional market sectors, including education, and science & technology. Taylor Design’s dynamic and effective strategy-based practice assures that decisions made at every stage of the design process make a positive difference for organizations and communities. Clients of the firm have included: Children’s Hospital and Research Center Oakland, Oakland, CA; Scripps Health, San Diego, CA; Hoag Hospital, Orange County, CA; UCSF Medical Center, San Francisco, CA; and numerous service areas for Kaiser Permanente, among others. For more information on the firm, visit

sign up to receive insights

Sign up to receive McCarthy Insights