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Suburban Hospital Project

Delivering Quality and Fast-Paced Results in 24/7 Facilities:
The Shapiro & Duncan-Suburban Hospital Story


  • A fast-paced timeline requires top organization and up-front management. This project involved several large initiatives and an expansive team of tradespeople, so it was critical to define all roles and relationships between vendors and partners at the outset. Shapiro & Duncan’s team successfully organized the on-site teams of more than 200 tradespeople at a time to ensure project tasks were completed accurately and on schedule.
  • Smooth projects depend on experience. Shapiro & Duncan leveraged its expertise to streamline the typically lengthy coordination and commissioning steps, to successfully execute tasks and complete the project in a timely manner.


The Suburban Hospital project consisted of the construction of a new, 5-story addition to the existing hospital facility, which included 14 new operating rooms, 2 cardiac catherization labs, 2 specialty operating rooms, 108 new single-patient rooms, and a bio-isolation wing, which was later used for COVID-19 patients. Additionally, the project required a remodel of the hospital’s dining space and conference rooms, and modernizations to selected areas.

Shapiro & Duncan’s expertise and extensive background in hospital projects were essential elements in its ability to manage the key challenges, such as the fast-paced timetable, that the Suburban Hospital project demanded. A large number of tradespeople were necessary to conduct key tasks, which required a level of management and coordination that supersedes the typical.

Due to the hospital being fully operational while the work was taking place, there was minimal lay-down space and storage on the job site itself. This required Shapiro & Duncan’s team to carefully schedule material deliveries on “The Project Delivery Board,” with an hour or two to unload trucks at a time due to additional deliveries coming closely behind. Tradespeople working on the job site were also required to transport their own materials to and from the job site each day, which presented additional levels of detail and attention. During the course of the Suburban Hospital project, a large number of change orders were also added to the scope, and the Shapiro & Duncan team was required to fit these into the existing time constraints.


  • Working around a fully-operational hospital facility. Suburban Hospital remained open throughout the project, which required additional safety measures, such as use of the containment bubble, and significant limitations on lay-down and storage space on the job site.
  • Tight timeframe, and ambitious scope. A lengthy project list, tight timeframe, and hundreds of new projects added as change orders required tight management and organization – from the start of the project to its completion.


The Suburban Hospital project arose from a competitive bid that Shapiro & Duncan won due to its reputation and relationship with the General Contractor, Clark Construction’s Healthcare Group.

At the outset of the project, Shapiro & Duncan conducted a thorough, up-front review of team members and vendors involved in project phases to clearly define roles and responsibilities. This step, in addition to being an essential part of its role as the BIM lead, was a critical element in the Suburban Hospital project that enabled the Shapiro & Duncan team to efficiently manage the large number of people and tasks involved.

The rough-in stage of the building took 6-months to complete, and at any given time during the project, there were about 200 mechanical, plumbing, and subcontractor tradespeople on the job site together. This included over 100 plumbers and steam fitters, sheet mechanical workers, and mechanical contractors. The sheer amount of personnel involved on the job site far exceeded the industry norm of 50-70 tradespeople at a time, which played a large role in the added organizational and management responsibilities Shapiro & Duncan had to take on. Since the hospital facility was fully operational and occupied throughout the project, the team was required to use containment bubbles and wear added PPE as required by specific locations throughout the facility campus.

Another element of the project involved connecting a new chilled water system for the new addition to the existing one in the main hospital. The system works year-round, even in the winter, and in order to make the connection, the Shapiro & Duncan team was required to shut down the existing system and restart it without affecting daily operations. This required a fairly extensive solution, with temporary piping and equipment, and top levels of expertise, as the system is used to cool key instruments like MRI machines that release dangerous gas if they get too hot.

Shapiro & Duncan’s solution to Suburban Hospital’s needs involved a number of equipment systems and parts, including:

  • A super-efficient magnetic bearing chiller;
  • A heat pump chiller;
  • 9 custom air handling units – 6 of which included UV light systems mounted downstream from the cooling coils to keep the coils continuously clean and prevent biological and bacterial growth for optimal hospital air quality and cleanliness;
  • 2 cooling towers;
  • 3 boilers;
  • 460 VAVs; and
  • A high-pressure to low pressure steam station.


Throughout the course of the Suburban Hospital project, Shapiro & Duncan leveraged its expertise to implement streamlined processes to navigate the large amounts of projects and people involved to accomplish key tasks. The team also skillfully integrated hundreds of change orders that arose, and skillfully incorporated them into the already tight timeframe. At the project’s completion, the Shapiro & Duncan team drove a timely, efficient commissioning process as a result of their effective organization and up-front management of each phase of the project, with all key functions firmly in order.


A quality team makes all the difference in a complex project with a tight timeframe. As this project involved so many vendors, subcontractors, and tradespeople to accomplish key tasks, Shapiro & Duncan ensured it forged relationships with top partners, such as the design engineer. Leach Wallace Associates was contracted from the owner to be the Engineer of Record and the Commissioning Agent as well as the successful bidder for the air and water balance. The relationships between Shapiro and Duncan and the multiple teams of Leach Wallace Associates streamlined the completion and project turn-over to the owner.

“The Suburban [Hospital] project was truly challenging with the complexity of the mechanical systems and the number of revisions that were required to create a world class facility that will support the critical care needs of the community for decades to come. Time after time, your team came through to meet our aggressive schedules and quality control demands. It was impressive to see your team jump in to help solve issues like the sanitary sewer, the conflicts with the work in the existing hospital, or the operating room balancing concerns. It has been a pleasure to work with your team.”

-James E. Salvino, MEP Executive, Clark Construction Group, LLC