All Hands On Deck

Spirit Sees Camp Pendleton Naval Hospital Construction Complete Ahead of Schedule and Under Budget


Pan-Pacific Mechanical, in partnership with Murray Co., and A.O. Reed (RPM), called on Jay R. Smith Mfg. Co. to accommodate unique specifications and complex coordination for the Camp Pendleton Hospital Replacement Project. New construction of a hospital is always a big undertaking. Now add to that the fact that your design/build project is for the United States Navy, and you add in many other layers of complexity.

The Camp Pendleton Hospital Replacement Project was a $450+ million project. The 70-acre site included a 500,000 square foot multi-level medical hospital, central utility plant, a 1500 space multi-level parking structure, surface parking, and supporting facilities. The new hospital would replace the base hospital at Lake O’Neill, which was built in 1969.

“The project schedule was exceptionally fast; it was a very aggressive schedule,” said Chris Young, project manager for Pan-Pacific. But an aggressive schedule wasn’t the only unusual challenge RPM had to deal with. There was an added level in the project’s chain of command. When working with the United States Navy construction is run through the Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) and a Resident Officer in Charge of Construction (ROICC) oversees the build.Given the new hospital’s location, in California, Pan-Pacific would typically be operating under the California Plumbing Code. But because this was a U.S. Naval facility RPM would instead have to adhere to the International Plumbing Code as well as a multitude of other unique requirements mandated by NAVFAC.


One of those unique requirements RPM had to take into consideration were anti-terrorism measures. “Terrorism on a military base is a big concern,” said Young. The Storm & Overflow drains had to be sized to accommodate over 3 inches of rainfall per hour per the hundred-year storm statistical assumptions. “You have a very large diameter overflow drain, up to six to eight inches in diameter. There was concern that someone could push a bomb in there from the ground level.”Jay R. Smith, Mfg. Co. custom designed a downspout nozzle with a perforated latching stainless steel hinge cover that could be locked to prevent someone from coming along and inserting an object into the piping. Smith has since added that very design to their catalogue and it is now available as a standard offering. Young was so pleased with the clean look of the downspout nozzles and Pan-Pacific is using them on other projects.PPMC also eliminated the threaded nipple connection often used on the downspouts. “With the exterior of the building and the inside wall tight against one another, it was hard to get enough space between the sweep and the cow’s tongue to utilize a threaded nipple. Smith engineered the downspout nozzle, so there are set screws around the perimeter of the downspout nozzle, which threads tight against the pipe, and the nozzle fits over the pipe to save space,” said Young.

Part of NAVFAC’s mission is to build and maintain sustainable facilities. Some of the innovations used at the Camp Pendleton Naval Hospital include green roofs, photovoltaic cells (solar panels), solar hot water panels, and horizontal and vertical sunscreens. It’s estimated these innovations will help to reduce energy consumption by 30 percent compared to a typical hospital.

The green roof at the Camp Pendleton Naval Hospital uses the Inverted Roof Membrane Assembly (IRMA) system that must be installed over a structural concrete deck due to the excessive weight loads of these systems. Smith green roof drains and receptors were installed at the Naval Hospital with the help and coordination of the staging and shipping of the materials by Elmco-Duddy, the manufacturer’s rep for the project. “The green roof drains required staging. They drain bodies were initially installed on the job to make the concrete pour, and the tops with the perforated mesh screens were shipped and installed at a later date,” said Don Stearns with Elmco-Duddy. “It was important to get everything right. Everything was coordinated to meet RPM’s schedule.”

SmSmithOverflowDrainThe drainage off a green roof surface is a particularly important component to maintain optimum growing conditions for the plants, to manage heavy rainfall without sustaining damage to growth due to erosion or ponding of water, and to ensure the sound engineering and structural integrity of the roof.

Young explained that the selection of the roof drains was also important because of the hospital’s proximity to the Pacific Ocean and the aggressive nature of the air. The roof drain systems would not only have to withstand harsh weather, but hold up to the salt water in the air as well.While the weather conditions can be harsh on the top of a roof, down on the ground things are a bit different, especially in Oceanside, California. The hospital design takes the temperate climate into consideration and provides an abundance of outdoor space for patients and their families.

SmSmithCarrierOne of the outdoor amenities RPM had to provide for was in the form of an outdoor coffee kiosk. Anywhere you have food or beverage service you need to provide hot water and sewer for the staff to wash their hands. Young explained that an outdoor coffee kiosk connection box isn’t a standard item you can order from a catalog.

RPM turned to Smith to design a custom stainless steel hot and cold water connection box. The custom made box was set flush in the wall which provided convenient hookup connections to hot and cold water service and sewer discharge when the kiosk was in use.

The Camp Pendleton Naval Hospital was a four-year construction project scheduled to open in 2014. Despite all the challenges, not only did the job come in six months ahead of schedule, but also it was also completed $100 million under budget.