We sat down with our partners at Skanska. How would we create negative air in that space? How would we even get demo material out – and equipment and supplies in?
The only way, we decided, was to build an airlock elevator, from the first floor, up and through the roof.
Skanska cut a hole in the roof, constructed the elevator shaft and built a doghouse to sit on top, for entry and exit. Our job was to come up with the mechanical system necessary to keep the entire space negative, including the operating rooms slated for renovation.
“We hooked up a negative air fan with HEPA filtration to exhaust the shaft,” Strine recalls. “Then we created a two-room, dual-door system where only one door could be opened at a time. It’s like a clean room airlock, and it kept the shaft negative with one door open.”
With negative pressure established, we could get on with the HVAC, plumbing and process piping work – but never while people were in surgery.
“Any shields we had to drill into the concrete had to be done early,” Strine says. “So we’d come in at 4 a.m. and drill all of the shields for the day. It was important to plan carefully and have all of our shields and anchors ready, and have all the hangers in place.”
That planning saved the day. The project came in on time, on budget. And ever since, Piedmont has been able to provide surgical care for many more patients.