One Tall Order: Apollo Sheet Metal At Vernon Jubilee Hospital

The Vernon Jubilee Hospital (VJH) project was part of a joint project by Interior Health involving upgrades and additions to both Vernon General Hospital and Kelowna General Hospital.

The VJH work was completed on Polson Tower, a new seven-storey addition that adds 231,000 square feet to the site and is the tallest building in Vernon. It also frees up 50,000 square feet inside the existing hospital.

The tower facilities include an expanded emergency department, covered ambulance garage with double the parking spaces, ambulatory care centre with new cardio-pulmonary clinics space, new operating rooms, and units for women’s and children’s health, maternity, pediatrics, intensive care, and coronary care.

It is fully integrated with the existing hospital via walkways at ground level and on the second and third floors, and has a pneumatic tube system.

Apollo Sheet Metal ’s scope of work on the project was completing all ventilation requirements for the full-service hospital. This included supply, exhaust, and return air systems, along with specialty air systems such as operating room HEPA filtered supply air, and HEPA filtered isolation exhaust systems.

The new hospital included Level 0-5 active floors, Level 6 and 7 shelled space for future occupancy, and full floor (Level 8) of mechanical equipment and systems that serviced the entire building.

Apollo was on the job from September 2009 and wrapped up in May 2011. At the same time, the company was in the midst of its own new development – a 70,000-square-foot, two-building facility that houses the company’s manufacturing services and office space in Coquitlam, BC.

“The production and fabrication of the material required for this project had to be co-ordinated with the relocation of our entire shop to a new building,” says Apollo Sheet Metal’s operations manager Miles Heck. “As this move would suspend our material fabrication, it was vital that proper planning was incorporated for this and all projects to ensure deliveries were not compromised.”

Numerous conditions had an impact that could have affected the timeliness of the completion, but the most pressing issue that the existing hospital was directly adjacent to the new structure, meaning pedestrian and traffic safety were a large issue.

“Graham Construction did a great job in planning our large material deliveries around these issues,” says Heck.

Graham Construction was the general contractor and the buildings were designed by Stantec Consulting.

Infusion Health KVH General Partnership is the company selected by Interior Health to design, build, finance, and maintain the new facilities. Black & McDonald provides facilities maintenance for the buildings.

The hospital’s timing and location in the Okanagan also presented a challenge for the company, which had to organize and ensure materials deliveries over the mountains for two winter seasons.

“The roadway conditions could compromise our ‘just in time’ delivery protocol,” says Heck. “It was imperative that we pre-planned for this possibility.”

The team also had to manage the risk of finding local manpower to assist in completing the large project in an area of smaller population.

“Local 280 Sheet Metal Workers International Union provided very dedicated and capable tradesmen to assist us in the completion of this project on time and on budget,” says Heck.
Apollo maintained a crew of 14 during the most active phase of the installation.

The project is built to achieve LEED Gold certification, meaning specific guidelines in mechanical system cleanliness and protection, says Heck. All transported material was protected from the time of fabrication to the time it arrived on site to ensure it arrived in a clean condition.“

Each floor had an ‘isolation’ area where we prepared the duct prior to installation,” says Heck. “All installed systems were protected as the installation progressed.”

The systems were cleaned again at the time of completion by Power Suction Services, a professional duct cleaning company.

Although the project is one of the Okanagan’s most prized projects and a landmark accomplishment for all of the companies involved, Heck lists the tradesmen’s performance as crucial to the project’s completion and the company’s pride in the work.

“This project was completed on time and on budget with tradesmen not normally under the employment of Apollo,” he says. “This again shows that we have great tradesmen throughout the province.”

Apollo Sheet Metal has completed numerous hospital projects in the past, but the size and complexity of this project, and its location outside of the company’s normal business area, were unique. This was Apollo’s first large project in the Okanagan.
“Vernon Jubilee proved to be a challenging project, but these challenges always assist in helping us become more efficient as a company,” says Heck.

This article was written by Jessica Kirby, the former editor of Sheet Metal Journal. It originally appeared in the Summer 2011 print edition.