Orlando Health Digestive Health Institute Engineering Ingenuity



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As we approach the final stages of construction for the Digestive Health Institute, we want to say “thank you” to Orlando Health for their unwavering trust in the RLF team to handle this intricate design challenge. This project, with its unique complexities, is a testament to the confidence Orlando Health has in our capabilities.

Imagine being tasked with fitting a four-story building snugly between an existing Cancer Center and Ambulatory Care Center, each with unique dimensions and constraints, while maintaining 24/7 healthcare operations. Adding to this complexity, the existing utilities feeding the operations of these two healthcare facilities crisscross the construction site. What would you do?

Collaborating with the entire project team, RLF devised a multi-phased solution that truly showcases our engineering and planning ingenuity. Recognizing the need to relocate existing utilities to avoid disruption, we suspended electrical duct banks with temporary support systems and relocated 18” sewer and storm lines. We also constructed temporary systems for steam and medical gas on the face of the ACC. Simultaneously, construction crews excavated over 15 feet to provide a 5-foot by 7-foot utility tunnel underneath the building site leading to the Cancer Center. Approximately a quarter million pounds of rebar was used to create the mat slab of the tunnel. As utilities lay suspended, forms were set, and concrete slabs poured to form the tunnel walls. This innovative approach allowed us to continue work while ensuring the safety and functionality of the existing facilities.

But the challenges didn’t end there. As the tunnel took shape below, the shallow foundations of the ACC building began to shift, affecting the building’s first floor and causing a domino effect and project delays. The team quickly responded by bringing in a structural diagnostic team to counteract the shifting ground and determine how to proceed with the tunnel construction. Shoring was implemented to deepen the building’s foundations and ensure a structurally sound building. Six months later, the tunnel was complete, and all utilities, including chilled water and high-pressure steam, were re-routed and tapped into for expansion.

Amidst the chaos, ongoing operations never missed a beat. The relocation of the Cancer Center’s transformer proved to be the team’s final act of precision engineering, ensuring uninterrupted power and patient care.  

As we stand on the brink of completing the Digestive Health Institute, we are immensely proud of our team's collective efforts in overcoming the formidable challenges posed by this project. From innovative solutions to unexpected hurdles, each obstacle was met with determination and ingenuity, resulting in a testament to our team's resilience and expertise.