Saturday, December 8, 2012

E-J Electric and Mount Sinai Medical Center’s Expansion

Mount Sinai Medical Center is undergoing a facility expansion, and E-J Electric Installation Co., Long Island City, N.Y., is providing the electrical construction management for the new 410,000-square-foot Center for Science and Medicine (CSM) building being erected on Madison Avenue in Manhattan. This construction is the latest expansion for the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and consists of an 11-story medical research center attached to a 43-story mixed-use tower that houses apartments and patient care spaces.

“There’s nothing typical about this healthcare addition; its electrical design is unlike any other,” said Alan Norden, executive vice president for E-J Electric Installation Co.

One case in point: the plan includes extending power between the structures across the ninth floor of the residential tower to the research facility.

The CSM addition expands the healthcare facility’s research and treatment programs with four types of interactive user spaces, where education, outpatient treatment, computer facilities and science research take place.

The facility includes the Mount Sinai Brain Institute and Spinal Cord Injury Model System, the Translational and Molecular Imaging Institute, and the Cancer Institute, all sharing a multistory lobby and including specialty outpatient care and clinical research.

The new Center for Science and Medicine has a planned completion in 2013 and is intended to foster innovation by creating conditions for scientists and physicians from a variety of disciplines and specialties to work together on medical improvements.

E-J Electric Installation Co. is managing the electrical construction of the facility, including all of the electrical equipment, fire alarm, security, lightning protection, teledata and audiovisual systems installation. The electrical contractor has worked closely with the design architect, Chicago-based Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP; the electrical engineer Jaros Baum & Bolles of New York; the construction manager Lend Lease; and the building owner.

The building collaboration began during the preconstruction phase when the E-J Electric team met with its partners to provide electrical value engineering and cost control for the center’s final design. As part of the coordination process, E-J Electric took the leading role in the 3-D building information modeling of the electrical systems.

“The project is extremely complex,” said Nels Berg, vice president of facilities at Mount Sinai Medical Center.

With the many contractors involved and two linked buildings, the design process was essential to start the project.

 “Lend Lease began planning early with E-J and other subcontractors,” said Cary Colton, Lend Lease’s executive vice president and general manager of healthcare.

“The subs were in there working with us early,” he said, adding that they were tasked with ordering equipment as well. “[It] helps us bring the supply chain in early.”

Ground-breaking for the two buildings took place in 2010. The buildings share four floors of family practice space and three floors of mechanical-electrical-plumbing space.

Under the CSM building’s 35,000-square-foot vivarium floor for animal research are the subcellar mezzanine floors and space for mechanical storage and for patient treatment machines, such as MRIs, CTs and Linac X-ray facilities. The center also includes a state-of-the-art lecture hall with two seminar rooms for presentations and classes with videoconferencing audiovisual equipment.

Power to the tower

In the early months of the project, E-J Electric’s team installed a 15-kilovolt (kV) system up to the ninth floor of the tower. Cables running up nine flights from the ground floor connect to four 15-kV vaults in the residential tower that transfer 480 volts (V) of power to the 11th-floor distribution rooms of the CSM, said Eugene Nagel, electrical field superintendent.

“Designing the power distribution in such a way reduced labor costs for construction, required less equipment and made additional space available for facility use by the hospital. In addition, Mount Sinai was able to obtain a better rate on power from the utility,” he said.

Altogether, E-J Electric’s team installed four 15-kV primary distribution substations with 2,500-kilovolt-ampere (kVA) to 480V step-down transformers in the 43-story tower. This network feeds a 5,000-ampere (A), 480V network ring bus and powers a system with six main distribution switchboards and two 2,000A bus duct risers for the research lab floors and vivarium floor. In addition, E-J Electric’s team also wired in two main distribution switchboards for the tower. With four primary transformers, the building has quadruple redundancy, enabling the facility to lose up to three services and still maintain power.

E-J Electric used cranes to raise and install switchgear and also constructed a series of temporary platforms between the buildings for installing feeders.

Redundant service is redundant

Emergency power distribution includes two 2.5-megawatt H.O. Penn Machinery Co. and Caterpillar generators connected through paralleling switchgear for integrating life safety and critical-care systems. Also, the electrical contractor installed 19 ASCO automatic-transfer switches that distribute normal or emergency power throughout 30 electrical closets between the CSM building and shared floors of the residential tower.

An uninterruptible power supply (UPS) was installed to power the Mount Sinai CSM building’s “hot aisle” containment high-performance computing (HPC) data center, which is being put in for the research center, said Robert Letscher, senior project manager for E-J Electric.

The UPS consists of two 750-kVA (675 kW) Liebert Systems NXL three-phase single-module lineups. This system supports four 300-kVA power distribution units (PDUs) and two 150-kVA PDUs that together provide redundant power to all equipment connections within the data center. In addition, each 750-kVA UPS lineup has a battery-backup system with 240 battery cells.

The data center will consist of 28 HPC cabinets, each having two redundant, 60A, three-phase, 208V, multiple outlet assemblies. Sixteen 18-kW Liebert CRV units cool the HPC cabinets.

In addition to these two UPS systems, the expansion includes an additional 120-kVA UPS to supply uninterruptible power to the CSM building’s voice, data, security, audio/video and nurse-call build-out. This power is distributed in 13 telephone room closets within the building.

Going beyond the call

E-J Electric handled many other building system installations. For instance, the team installed more than 160 different types of lighting fixtures made by more than 40 different lighting manufacturers. The workers also installed lighting controls and a complete interior fit-out system for a lecture hall and two seminar rooms.

The grounding and lightning protection for the buildings consists of a Master Label system with 75 roof-mounted air terminals, supplying ground paths with integrated surge suppression.

An Edwards Signaling fire alarm system—including six fire alarm data gathering panels (DGPs), 40 strobe booster panels, 65 pull stations, and 480 smoke and heat detectors—was installed to provide fire protection for the facilities. The electrical contractor also provided 400 strobes, 500 speakers, 300 control-monitoring modules and five pre-action systems.

E-J Electric’s Communication Systems division managed the installation of a low-voltage system, including telecommunications/data, nurse call, security and AT&T’s intrabuilding distributed antenna system cellular network.

The low-voltage cabling alone amounted to a total of 1.6 million feet of four-pair, Cat 6 cable, which feeds data and telephone throughout the CSM facility to medical worker and researchers’ workstations, nurse-call units and security cameras.

E-J Electric also managed the installation of 144,000 feet of four-pair, Cat 6 cable in the tower, which feeds more workstations, nurse call and security cameras. In addition, the company ran approximately 30,000 feet of campus fiber between all of the Mount Sinai buildings, completing more than 1,000 fiber terminations. The team ran 10,000 feet of 24-strand multimode fiber from the telephone rooms to the main equipment room, also known as the main distribution frame (MDF) and, additionally, 4,000 feet of 300-pair, Cat 3 cable from the telephone rooms to the MDF.

Mount Sinai’s CSM building has a wireless network consisting of 256 Wi-Fi access point units installed throughout. The AT&T cellular system also includes 8,000 feet of -inch Heliax cable, 1,000 feet of -inch coaxial cable, 750 feet of 12-strand fiber cable, 116 Huber+Suhner wireless antennas and four GPS antennas.

Included within this scope was the build-out of 17 telephone rooms with teledata and cable ladder racks between the CSM and tower buildings.

The nurse-call system installed throughout the four floors of the family and outpatient medical practice areas includes remote paging and alert and light indication response systems for staff to respond to a patient’s needs.

E-J Electric managed the installation of security wall fields in the 17 telephone rooms and three elevator machine rooms, installed 196 stationary and pan/tilt/zoom cameras and provided wiring for 331 Harmony lock doors between the two buildings.

Close quarters contracting

“Because the site is in Manhattan, the staging space is nonexistent,” Nagel said, “and every piece of pipe and other equipment had to be brought in as it was installed.”

E-J Electric used storage yards located off-site. Working in Manhattan, logistics issues among trades and limited space required coordination to keeping the project on track.

At peak, E-J Electric managed approximately 120 electricians on-site.
By Claire Swedberg
Published: November 2012, Electrical Contractor
Claire Swedberg is a freelance writer. She can be reached at