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Thesis Abstract
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Thesis Proposal
Final Report
Senior Thesis e-Studio








*Special thanks to Alexander Building Construction, Ewing Cole, and Geisinger Health Systems for providing me with the necessary tools to complete my Senior Capstone Project.


Click on the any of the Images to see a viewable PDF of the Thesis Proposal

The objective of this Thesis Proposal is to address problematic issues and accelerate the schedule through the investigation of four analysis areas.Through these analyses, the expected outcomes are to provide potential solutions to the current issues on the project site. It is the intent to provide a detailed investigation of each analysis to provide the best possible acceleration scenarios.

Initial Submission Date:
December 16, 2013
Revised Submission Date:
January 17, 2014

Analysis 1 - Virtual Mockups on Operating/Endoscopy Rooms

One of the major challenges in the construction of this facility was the great amount of changes that went in designing the Operating and Endoscopy Rooms of this building. Taking over 8 weeks of design reiterations throughout the construction process, this was a costly and time-consuming process which obstructed the trades to begin work in these areas as they were left until the end of the project. This analysis will look into developing and implementing Virtual Mockups, with the goal of improving the efficiency of the design and construction of the facility’s Operating and Endoscopy Rooms.

Analysis 2 - Building Façade Prefabrication:
Construction of the building’s exterior envelope is the second longest task in the project’s schedule.  The constructions of the brick veneer exterior walls require an extensive amount of labor-hours and scaffolding to install. This time-intensive process hinders the schedule from being accelerated, and the building from being watertight earlier. This project presents an opportunity to change from stick-built exterior wall construction into a modular design. This analysis will help determine whether the use of prefabricated brick panels will improve schedule, cost, and trade coordination on site. Additionally, a mechanical breadth analysis will be performed in order to determine any significant changes in the building’s thermal performance.

Analysis 3 - Equipment Procurement & Installation:
Procuring and installing the medical equipment can become a very challenging process in healthcare projects. Geisinger, the owner for this project, is the one responsible for procuring and coordinating the equipment installation in their facility. Because of the rapid changes in technology and with the purpose of pushing back equipment payments, they try to wait as long as possible in order to procure the latest and greatest equipment for their facilities.  This creates a big challenge when it comes to designing the rough-ins, as the contractor does not know exactly what connections each piece of equipment will require until they arrive to the site. Through this analysis, I will research the most effective ways of sharing information on equipment procurement and furnishing to all trades involved with the installation of the equipment connection rough-ins. A strategy will be developed and implemented, focusing on timely decision making while having the least impact in the construction cost and schedule.

Analysis 4 - Re-evaluation of Structural Composite Slabs:
The MEP, interior, and structural systems of the Geisinger Gray’s Woods Ambulatory Care Campus account for over 80% of the building’s total cost. In an attempt to lower the building costs, value engineering efforts will be done to the building’s structural composite slab. Through this analysis, I will evaluate the possibility of altering the second floor slab’s lightweight concrete to normal weight. Not only is normal weight concrete cheaper than lightweight, but changing to normal weight concrete may result in cost savings by not having to use any fireproofing. This analysis would require redesigning the complete second floor composite slab. With this in mind, a structural system analysis will be required in order to determine whether any changes have to be done to the building’s structure. Additionally, a cost analysis based on material and structural changes will be performed in order to determine whether this value engineering solution provides any cost savings for the project.

Structural Breadth Analysis:
The second floor slab of the Geisinger Ambulatory Care Campus facility is designed using lightweight concrete on composite metal decking. Although both normal and lightweight concrete can fulfill the same structural function, there is a significant cost premium for lightweight concrete.  Altering the second floor slab to normal weight concrete should be a large source of cost-savings for the project. This though, will require an analysis of the building’s structural system. For this structural breadth, I will begin by determining a normal weight composite metal decking for this system. Changes with regards to the concrete thickness, fireproofing, and metal decking forms will be addressed in order to design a composite slab that meets structural requirements. With over 40 pounds per cubic foot heavier than lightweight concrete, normal weight would significantly increase loads to the building’s structure. Decking span, beam layout and column and beam sizing will be revised in a representative bay in order to determine whether they can support the additional building loads. Additionally, decking deflections will have to be addressed in order to determine whether any shoring will be required to support the structure. By comparing the costs savings between changing to normal weight concrete to those costs incurred with modifying the building’s structural system, we will be able to make a final recommendation on whether this change is beneficial to this project.

Mechanical Breadth Analysis:
The efficiency of the building’s mechanical system relies heavily on the thermal performance of the exterior enclosure. In order to justify the replacement of the unitary brick masonry walls by prefabricated panels, a mechanical analysis of the proposed system’s thermal efficiency must be performed. Insulation & thermal characteristics of the proposed system will be evaluated in order to determine whether there are any significant changes in the building’s thermal performance. Changes in the building’s cooling and heating loads will be calculated and used to conduct a lifecycle cost analysis to fully understand whether implementing precast exterior wall panels would be beneficial for this project.

MAE Requirements:
The MAE requirements for the senior thesis research will be fulfilled on the first analysis, the implementation of Virtual Mockups for the Operating and Endoscopy rooms of the Grays Woods project. Master Level course ‘Virtual Facility Prototyping’ (AE597F) evaluates different ways of implementing models in order to improve the efficiency of building design and construction. Throughout this course, I have learned to use various programs and tools, such as Revit and Unity, which are commonly used in the industry for developing these technologies.  The knowledge and modeling experience acquired throughout this course will be greatly beneficial in developing and implementing virtual mockups for the operating and endoscopy rooms of this facility.

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*Note: While great efforts have been taken to provide accurate and complete information on the pages of CPEP, please be aware that the information contained herewith is considered a work‐in‐progress for this thesis project. Modifications and changes related to the original building designs and construction methodologies for this senior thesis project are solely the interpretation of Christopher Ankeny. Changes and discrepancies in no way imply that the original design contained errors or was flawed. Differing assumptions, code references, requirements, and methodologies have been incorporated into this thesis project; therefore, investigation results may vary from the original design.”

This page was last updated on January 17, 2014 by George Andonie and is hosted by the AE Department © 2013-2014