The Surrey Memorial Hospital (SMH) Critical Care Tower is eight stories in height and includes three parkade levels, a mechanical level, and a helipad. The emergency department housed within the building is one of the largest in BC. Houle was chosen to partner with large Ontario-based general contractor, EllisDon on this project in 2011 due to Houle’s ability to provide integrated building services.
Houle provided design-assistance and performed all system installations for the 400,000 square foot building. The construction project was unique having been built beside an existing hospital. Tying the two hospitals together added another level of complexity to the job, which for Houle included power quality, distribution services, network cabling, generators, nurse call, fire alarm systems, access control, CCTV, intrusion, wireless application protocol, real-time location system (RTLS), lighting controls, patient entertainment, intercom, and audio-visual for the new hospital tower.
- Critical Communications: One of the more complex systems Houle worked on was the data system. Because everything is tied into a computer, all the medical equipment used by the doctors and nurses requires computers, including the IP-based phones which require a network connection. The scope of the data system installation was two-fold. The first part consisted of establishing a fibre optic and copper connection between the existing campus and the new tower. Part two involved building a fibre optic backbone network and horizontal copper Cat6 cable network throughout the new tower. The data system is a huge benefit for the hospital as the medical staff can transfer information from patients faster than before. In a hospital setting, seconds can be critical.
- Security and Life Safety: The security team was tasked with installing all low voltage systems other than data. This included access control, panic/duress, intrusion, CCTV, intercom, audio/video systems, real-time location system, and cell phone antenna network (DAS). Where possible, Houle pre-wired, programmed, and installed the headend controllers before the field devices, helping reduce installation and commissioning time on all systems. With assistance from the electrical division, Houle identified prefabrication opportunities. To remove any programming issues that may have arisen during commissioning, all systems were pre-integrated in Houle’s office before deployment in the field. By providing a “one-contractor-solution” for the low voltage systems, the Fraser Health Authority was able to get the systems they needed and have them function as one entity. Having video intercoms installed at various entry points to units allow staff to know exactly who is looking to enter the space without leaving their desks, keeping them focused on what is important—the patients. Integrating the intrusion, panic, and CCTV systems with software pop-ups allows on-site security to monitor and respond promptly to emergencies, keeping staff, patients, and the public safe. Combining cell phones, pagers and e-comm radios on the antenna network keeps everyone in constant contact during regular work or in times of emergency. The RTLS system not only allows staff to keep track of wandering patients, but it also allows for asset tagging for tracking the location of tagged equipment.
Working on a job this size came with many challenges. Because of the integration of all the systems in the building, a high amount of detail was needed to devise the installation schedule. Houle had to coordinate its own services; with more than 30 systems to install, Houle was tasked with placing all conduits in the ceiling while still allowing access for the mechanical installations. The hallways in the hospital were crowded so careful coordination was required to avoid conflicts with other trades. Another challenge was becoming familiar with all the systems in the existing hospital. This ensured seamless interfacing with the existing systems in the existing hospital and also ensured the hospital’s information networks did not go down.
One of the keys to keeping the project on schedule was pre-fabrication. By looking for patterns in the installation, Houle was able to have parts pre-made to streamline the installation process, reduce the commissioning time, and pass the savings on to the client. Houle completed the project on time and on budget with no lost time incidents.
“What was unique about our experience with Houle Electric is they were part of our collaborative team effort to develop the proper schedule for the [Surrey Memorial Hospital Critical Care Tower] project. But in addition they took ownership over their role on the project and worked to enforce the execution of the schedule to plan. Reliably they provided what they promised in the beginning which had been very important to us all along.”
~Ahmad Tadbir, Superintendent/Planning and Logistics, EllisDon