Evangelical Community Hospital, Building Enclosure Commissioning Services - Lewisburg, PA
Horizon Engineering Associates (HEA) was contracted by Evangelical Community Hospital to provide building enclosure commissioning services for the hospital’s Patient Room Improvement, Modernization and Enhancement (PRIME) project in Lewisburg, PA. The $72 million project consisted of a nearly 112,00 sf, 4-story new addition as well the renovation of 20,000 sf of existing space. While the expansion did not add to the bed count of the hospital, it allowed them to provide private rooms and private bathrooms to all patients.
Services provided by HEA included commissioning of the complete building enclosure with respect to moisture, air, vapor and thermal control layers associated with the subgrade waterproofing, exterior wall systems and roof systems. All of HEA’s building enclosure services were modeled on the guidelines set forth by the National Institute of Building Science (NIBS) Guideline 3 in conjunction with ASTM E2813: Standard Practice for Building Enclosure Commissioning (BECx).
Client: Evangelical Community Hospital
Location: Lewisburg, PA
Q/A with Frank Cedillo – Building Enclosure Associate
What was the biggest challenge faced during the project and how was HEA able to navigate through any problems faced due to this challenge?
The design team was not particularly proactive in terms of addressing unforeseen field issues. We helped resolve some of these issues by providing our input and by encouraging discussions between the general contractor and the enclosure sub-contractors.
Anything about this project that makes it stand out to you as different from any other projects you’ve previously worked on?
Workmanship on the part of some of the subcontractors was found to be lower than average compared to similarly sized projects. Fortunately, the general contractor proved to be diligent in addressing our concerns and promptly directing the subcontractors to remediate the issues we identified.
If HEA did not properly address the deficiencies found, how would this of negatively affected the building’s performance?
This project included many expansion joints between the existing building and the new addition. These joints incorporated pre-cured silicone membrane transitions that were supposed to be installed from the exterior in order to provide continuous transitions, but we noted that the weather barrier contractor had elected to install these components from the interior instead to avoid using aerial lifts. This resulted in discontinuities at each floor slab. We had to insist that they remediate these deficiencies and start installing these components from the exterior as per the details. These discontinuities in the transition membranes would have resulted in significant air leakage and possibly concealed condensation had this issue not been addressed.
Were there any lessons learned during this project that you believe can be applied to future projects to make them even more successful?
A significant failure of the spandrel glass opacifier started occurring a few months after substantial completion. We assisted the client in an investigation to determine the cause of the failure, and it was determined that the failure was due to improperly designed / installed backpans. We had actually noticed and called out this issue as a potential concern at the start of installation, but in the absence of a response from the design team our concerns were not addressed and the sub-contractor proceeded with the inadequate installation. In hindsight we realize we may have been able to prevent this failure if we had voiced our concerns in a more forceful way to the design team and the client. This shows the importance of emphasizing the potential consequences of the deficiencies we identify, especially when we feel that a deficiency may have significant consequences.
Based off client feedback, where do you feel we provided the most value to the project?
By identifying systemic issues with installation during the construction phase and helping resolve them.
What do you think the success of this project shows about the qualities of HEA?
We strive to ensure the building enclosure installation meets the expectations of the design team and owner.