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INOVA Loudoun Hospital: North Tower

The Essential Nature of Quality of HVAC Craftsmanship in Healthcare:

The Shapiro & Duncan-Inova Loudoun HospitalThe North Tower Project



  • Quality of Craftsmanship. The North Tower project required a high level of craftsmanship and technical skill throughout, as mechanical needs and aesthetic concerns were combined in the requirements for the new building space.
  • Navigation of Unconventional Elements. Shapiro & Duncan brought its out-of-the-box creativity to manage a number of elements that strayed from the ‘norm,’ such as the aesthetic design elements, including the need to fashion baseboard heaters that are made in straight pieces into circular shapes to match the building structure.
  • Strategic Material Production and Management to Ensure Top Outcomes. Shapiro & Duncan leveraged its Building Information Modeling (BIM) process and pre-fabrication team prior to the project start and throughout to create top quality, clean piping assemblies that were stored until they were needed at the job site, when they were shipped “just in time” as opposed to sitting for periods of time.


Inova Loudoun Hospital’s new North Tower serves as a scalable, critical resource to meet the community’s future needs. The tower itself spans 382,000 square feet and will expand North capacity to 228 beds from the previous building’s 82 beds.

In this project, there were a total of 32 air handling units on 2 mechanical floors as well as generators and pumps for the facility. The units themselves ranged in size from small to massive and stackable, adding a challenge and level of difficulty in that they arrived broken sections to be assembled into complete units at their final resting place. Overall, the uniqueness and complexity of this project and its elements resulted in a fairly high level of difficulty and challenge on the part of the craftsmen.


  • Aesthetic and design considerations to mesh new HVAC systems with the paneling and modern elements of the hospital’s high-traffic, high-visibility lobby and atrium areas.
  • Use of Shapiro & Duncan’s in-house BIM process and Pre-Fabrication shop to create the assemblies needed for the project in a controlled environment for top accuracy, safety and quality.
  • The North Tower as a scalable critical resource to meet the community’s future needs. The new 382,000 square foot tower adds a fully developed patient capacity of 228 beds to the previous 82 beds.


Prior to the project start, Shapiro & Duncan developed a coordinated model using its Building Information Modeling (BIM) process. From there, the model was refined and detailed spool drawings were produced and uploaded with Shapiro & Duncan’s Fab Pro system to digital work stations and equipment on the Fab Shop floor where the piping, fittings, valves, strainers and more move through the assembly line with the pre-fabrication team to create clean, high quality piping assemblies in a controlled environment then stored and “just in time” shipped to the job site a few days before installation. This process provides a higher level of quality assurance in the craftsmanship of the finished HVAC product.

Aesthetically, a number of factors required consideration and focus for the successful completion of the new North Tower at Inova Loudoun Hospital. The access panels for the sanitary and storm pipes, typically run vertically, had to be finished to match the wood panels in the building’s high-traffic lobby and atrium areas.

Baseboard heaters in the main atrium and corridor, also high-traffic, high-visibility areas, also needed to be designed and installed to match flooring and windows. The existing atrium featured circular, radius-like formation, and this presented a unique aesthetic challenge in that baseboard heaters come in straight pieces, not curves.

The Shapiro & Duncan team delivered its expertise to address these concerns and uphold the aesthetic standard and ensure the new materials were not just functional but in keeping with the design elements of the building as a whole.

The steam element of the North Tower’s heating system, a departure from more traditional hot water boiler systems, added an extra level of challenge and difficulty to the project overall. For many of the craftsmen on the job, the steam system is not an installation they practice every day, as it is less common overall, and the nature of its function required several levels of expertise. The delicate nature of steam as well as the fact that it is under pressure necessitates expertise on the part of the craftsmen installing the system to manage condensation and steam traps and ensure everything is functioning properly.


  • The technical excellence of Shapiro & Duncan’s coordination team was a key factor in the successful, on-time and on-budget execution of this project. Throughout the effort, the coordination team was responsible for managing all of the systems and phases of the work, including plumbing, water, the reverse osmosis and dialysis systems, sanitary and storm pipes and drains, medical gas, HVAC chilled water, and steam heating elements.
  • The new North Tower project at Inova Loudoun Hospital is a testament to the seasoned expertise, skilled project management, and creative approach the Shapiro & Duncan brings to its work. This ensures not only accurate, timely completion of project specifications, but the high level of quality the company is known for. Unique needs of the client, and design considerations of the new space, were all key factors for the Shapiro & Duncan team at every phase, to ensure quality results and craftsmanship to stand the test of time.


Each structure brings with it unique, unconventional elements. Top results were achieved in this project through a fusion of high standards of craftsmanship and technical expertise.

Contact Shapiro & Duncan to deliver their expertise on your next hospital project.