Engineering Services

Palomar Medical Center West – San Diego, CA


Project Owner: Palomar Pomerado Health

General Contractor: DPR Construction

Architect:  CO Architects

Engineer:  KPFF

Contact: Randy Wilson Phone: 760.658.6152

Project Value: $925 million 

Palomar Medical Center West is an 879,000 sq. ft., 11 story, 456-bed tertiary care center which opened in early 2011.  Defining features for the project include: San Diego’s largest green roof, a design feature aimed at preserving storm-water runoff to irrigate and support an ecological system that provides strategic lighting and sun screening while minimizing AC costs and providing a state of the art healing environment.  This project was the first to undergo OSHPD’s new plan review process where integral sections of the structure were reviewed part by part as opposed to reviewing as a finished design.

Due to the irregular shape of the green roof, difficult intersections had to be mapped and projected into 3D models to provide additional structural analysis.  The structural design was one of many elements that used Building Information Models (BIM) to improve design and coordination.  BIM was also used to coordinate a majority of the structural steel fit-up operations and mechanical-plumbing construction.  Because of the large amount of structural steel required to meet OSHPD’s stringent seismic design criteria, a foundation system that was able to provide adequate bearing pressure and resist cyclic loading was required.  The optimal solution was the use of post-tension concrete piles founded in competent bedrock.  To mitigate these factors, larger structural members, special connections, additional seated connections, and additional bolted framed connections were required in to the design.   The end result is that approximately 12,400 tons of steel was used for the frame of the building and over 1 million pounds of reinforcing steel were required for related reinforced concrete operations.

Because this advanced structural design required more complex connections at intersections, it was important to the project team that the intent of design not be compromised during construction.  To do this, a more rigorous Testing and Inspection program was established.  One of the defining features of the Testing and Inspection program was the testing of structural connections via Phased Array Imaging (an advanced Ultrasonic Testing technique).  This was the first time in San Diego County that Phased Array Imaging was used as a method for quality assurance for a construction project.  As a result of the implementation of Phased Array testing, the client was able to save approximately 1/3 of their non-destructive testing costs and Herrick Steel realized a 20,000 man-hour reduction in their erection schedule, all accomplished while securing more accurate and effective test results.

NOVA provided the following services for Palomar Medical Center West project:

  • Special inspection of reinforced concrete, masonry, fireproofing, high-strength grout, soil-nail walls, high-strength bolts and welding
  • Fabrication Shop Inspection
  • Ultrasonic welding inspection utilizing Phased Array Imaging equipment.  NOVA is the only testing and inspection firm providing this type of non-destructive testing in San Diego County.
  • Laboratory testing of reinforced concrete, masonry, high-strength bolts, reinforced steel, Nelson stud bolts and pull testing of epoxy anchors
  • Waterproofing inspection

Project Highlights:

  • 800 craftsmen on the project daily
  • Continuous welding inspection was required for over 25,000,000 tons of structural steel
  • Concrete inspection and lab testing was required on over 38,000 cubic yards of concrete
  • NOVA had over 12 inspectors supporting this project at its peak