Construction continues at Regions Hospital in St. Paul on a new helipad site, part of KA’s continuous service as on-site construction manager at the HealthPartners hospital campus since 2007.
When completed in December, the project will replace an existing ground level helipad with a rooftop landing pad, taxiway and parking pad atop the hospital’s 11-story patient tower, which was constructed by KA in 2009. The project is one of about 60 to 80 projects a year conducted by the KA team led by Paul Charpentier, project manager; and Matt Olson, project superintendent, who discussed some of the project highlights.
Q: What infrastructure is involved in preparing the rooftop for helicopter use?
OLSON: The rooftop penthouse is being built out to accommodate fire suppression and snow melt systems, and to extend the travel of a second elevator to the penthouse. In addition, a 4 x 14 roof hatch has been cut into the roof, and stairs from the south stair tower are being extended to the roof hatch for emergency egress. Twenty-three stub columns from the 11th floor have been extended to support a new galvanized steel frame sub structure for the helipad, aided by vibrator isolators to dampen vibration from the helicopter. Coated aluminum helipad decking completes the landing surface.
Q: How high off the original roof surface is the helipad decking?
OLSON: About six feet.
Q: How did you pick materials up to the 11th floor rooftop?
OLSON: Because the site was too tight for a tower crane, we employed a 400-foot high, 550-ton hydraulic mobile boom crane with a 240-foot luffing jib as a pivot point to give us the necessary reach.
Q: How long was the crane in use?
OLSON: About a month. It was set on the south frontage road near the patient tower, and 12th Street was closed to traffic and pedestrians during this time.
Q: What measures are being taken to control dust/smell/noise/disturbance for hospital users?
OLSON: There’s no real dust or smells with this project. Disturbance is minimal because most of the work is outside. We have minimized noise by core drilling all the epoxy anchor bolts into the existing concrete structure in lieu of using hammer drills.
Q: What are the major challenges on this job?
OLSON: Safety is always a primary focus, and we have some additional safety considerations working exposed to the elements 12 stories up on the existing rooftop. The helipad structure framing was constructed with employees tied off to roof anchors for fall protection. Finished helipad fall protection will consist of metal safety netting around the perimeter. As the weather changes and with some early snow and high winds, that’s made it more challenging, too.
Q: How’s the view from up there?
OLSON: It’s got to be one of the best views of Saint Paul. We’ve got the Capitol on one side, Saint Paul Cathedral, and the Mississippi on the other side. On a clear day, you can almost see Wisconsin.