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Inova Women’s & Children’s Hospital

Falls Church, VA

General Contractor: Clark Construction Company
Architect: Wilmot Sanz, Inc.
Engineer: RMF Engineering, Inc.
Contract Amount: $61,000,000
Contract Start Date: 9/1/12
Contract Completion Date: 9/1/15
Actual Completion Date: 8/7/15


The Inova Women’s & Children’s Hospital project is a new 665,000 square foot 12 story structure. The Women’s Hospital includes 192 patient rooms, an 108 bed neonatal intensive care unit, 33 labor and delivery rooms, eight operating rooms and 6 C-section rooms. Three floors of the building house the Children’s Hospital with a dedicated entrance and 116 private pediatric rooms. Additional support areas are included as well as a ground level clinic and a full commercial food service kitchen. On the three lower levels this facility is connected to the South Patient Tower which Shapiro & Duncan completed in 2012. Additionally, the project included the construction of both a new central utility plant and a central energy plant with a pair of 1800 ton chillers and cooling tower assembly. Three two megawatt emergency generators provide continuous electrical supply in the event of an emergency outage.

Every construction project is a challenge and this one was a big challenge. The coordination required to construct such a large new addition on a 24/7/365 hospital complex was extensive. Coordinating all of the system trades within the confines of the structural and finish trades was executed by our team using three dimensional drawings prepared by each trade and Building Information Modeling (BIM) to marry the documents and then detect and correct system clashes in the model. Coordinating the schedule of work and the resources required to complete the work was a major undertaking but our utilization of Primavera scheduling tools as well as our own Fieldman and Fabman platforms and our team of skilled professionals proved up to the task. Coordinating all of the required connections to existing hospital systems both in joining with the adjacent buildings as well providing some additional campus wide redundancies required extensive meetings with the hospital users group and the construction team. Having the BIM model was critical in these meetings as it provided a 3D video model easily understood by the users group which helped achieve consensus among the parties on the necessary decisions moving forward. Needless to say, the connection to these existing systems required work to be performed on a temporary basis to maintain services as well as at all hours depending on hospital load demands and operating requirements.


The solution to this challenge was the same as in all other projects but just at a larger scale. We like to call it an upfront investment of intelligence and that involves getting the best minds and experience together early to plan and detail every aspect of our work and coordinate the placement and execution with all of the other trades.

Putting our Planning Department with their talent and experience in modeling and clash resolution was key. Assigning a strong project management team to procure, track, orchestrate and execute within the confines of the schedule the diverse and complex litany of equipment, materials, subcontractors and skilled tradesmen. Placing a large field force of talented tradesmen and women directed and lead on site by our lead foreman who was assisted by many working foreman, a quality control coordinator, a safety officer, an administrative assistant as well as project engineers tracking material and equipment, labor productivity and schedule compliance. The Shapiro & Duncan team met weekly, and sometimes more than once a week, with Clark Construction and all the other trades to resolve any conflicts and coordinate activities on site. Lean Construction practices were utilized by the team keeping critical members engaged in the planning and scheduling of activities, defining and refining activities and durations, and coordinating the workflow amongst the trade to ensure the most efficient execution of the work.

Our building information modeling (BIM) system turned out to be a big part of the solution. We used BIM to head off any potential conflicts between the various trades including lighting, conduit, ductwork and so on. We hit every one of the conflicts one by one, and solved them using BIM at the digital level.

As conflicts were resolved, our Planning department sent mechanical shop (spool) drawings to our 51,000 square foot fabrication shop in Landover, Maryland. Each spool drawing is one small section of the BIM model, like puzzle pieces. Every drawing and then every assembly that comes of the shop floor is color coded and clearly marked by floor and quadrant, so that our field crews can quickly erect the prefabricated piping assemblies properly site. More than 80 percent of the piping on this project was prefabricated as assemblies at our Landover facility.

When it came time to physically install the product in the field, our quality control coordinator came through and made sure that all utilities and equipment for all subs were installed in the right places and at the right elevations.

Ultimately, the early investment of intelligence by going through all of these coordination and quality control steps was the key to success.


Everybody involved in this project – our planning team, our field teams and all of our subcontractors – did a superb job of coordination to make sure everything was installed in the right place. There were very few coordination conflicts in the field. In a building of this size, it could have been disastrous if coordination issues had not been handled correctly. The project finished ahead of schedule, beating the initial schedule that had been provided to us. The owner, Inova, was satisfied with the outcome.

The results of this project – coordination, physical installation and overall quality of the work –once again underscore Shapiro and Duncan’s capabilities to perform at the highest standard on complex projects of this magnitude. The project was delivered ahead of schedule providing the Owner with an opening ahead of schedule and the community with added capacity for critical medical services earlier than anticipated.