To celebrate the 45th anniversary of BHATE Geosciences, we are featuring throwbacks of notable projects over the years.
Birmingham’s oldest hospital is a staple of the Birmingham skyline and a recognizable sight off the Red Mountain Expressway. But before 2004, the view from the Expressway and from University Boulevard looked vastly different before the addition of the North Tower.
The St. Vincent’s North Tower is an excellent example of creative engineering using innovative solutions to exceed the client’s needs, as well as teamwork with Brasfield & Gorrie and LBYD to overcome difficult site problems.
BHATE has worked on dozens of buildings on the St. Vincent campus since the 1970s (and on every building since). Our engineers knew about the unique geological conditions and the challenges of designing foundations on a site located over a complex geological contact between the Knox Group and Ketona Dolomite formations.
St. Vincent’s wanted a reliable foundation system that could be installed on budget and on schedule and could be inspected after installation – and they trusted BHATE to provide them with the right solution. BHATE’s subsurface exploration provided results similar to past projects on the campus – the top of the rock ranged from less than 15 feet to over 200 feet deep and much of the rock was highly fractured with deep clay voids.
Our geotechnical engineers determined driven pipe piles were the most practical, reliable and economical for this heavy and long structure. By anticipating the 175-foot variance in pile length, the foundation contractor drove over 95,000 linear feet of piles without change orders to allow the building construction to begin on schedule.
After two years of construction, the $40 million, 368,000 SF, 11-story North Tower was completed along with a 5-story parking deck and greenspace and fountain at the entrance.
BHATE was honored with the 2003 Associated Builders & Contractors of Alabama “Excellence in Construction Award” for the St. Vincent’s Hospital North Tower. We are thankful for St. Vincent’s continued trust in us in continuing this decades-long relationship and have since been a part of the Bruno Conference Center, the South Tower that houses the new emergency room, numerous parking decks as well as projects at St. Vincent’s Chilton County, East, Highway 119 and St. Clair County campuses.
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