Commonwealth Electric Company of the Midwest (CECM) has completed its three-year construction of the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center located in midtown Omaha, Nebraska. Nearly all $35 million of the electrical construction – including power, lighting and low-voltage systems – was self-performed by CECM, with less than three percent sub-contracted.
Located on the UNMC campus, this expansive, 64,000 square foot building is one of a kind. It consists of a 10-story, 98-laboratory research tower connected to an eight-story, 108-bed inpatient treatment center, an outpatient treatment center and a healing garden featuring art from the world-renowned glass artist, Dale Chihuly.
The center was built in the heart of a fully-operating medical campus, meaning the construction team had to precisely plan every step of the building process. Up to 500 craftsmen of all trades parked blocks off site, deliveries were scheduled when they would not disrupt traffic flow and tower cranes were closely monitored to not interfere with the helipads on neighboring roofs. Building Information Modeling (BIM) played an essential role in the success of this project, from aiding effective communication to saving time and money.
CECM overcame the barrier of the main electrical rooms being located on different floors within the two buildings, something that is not a common practice in the Omaha area. In order to install the eight-ton switchgear, two multi-story scaffold towers were built. This allowed the crane, sleds and rollers to set the switchgear in its final position, 150 feet above street level. Other challenges, like creating rooms with four-foot concrete walls for radiation equipment that had not been manufactured, were simplified as BIM allowed for the addition of embedded conduits and raceways three years prior to execution and installation.