Emergency Service

The Context

To get ready for students to return to campus during the Covid-19 pandemic, Northeastern University in Boston needed to construct a testing center – and do it with unprecedented speed. The site was in an existing building that wasn’t designed for the type of ventilation needed for this special use.

The Challenge

There were only a few weeks in which to convert the space into a medical pressurized space, drawing in 100% outside air and exhausting through a HEPA filter, which had to be 30 feet from any opening.

The Response

From day one, we worked closely with the engineering firm BR+A, as well as the other vendors. The mantra was: Just get it done. While the usual question is, “can you pay for it?” the driving question in this case was, “can we even get this stuff sourced, built, delivered and installed on time?” The 3x16 air handler, 15-ton condenser unit, HEPA filter and other system components were all sourced in record time. Cox had sheet metal foremen drawing up plans in the field, with the shop turning around components in as little as 24 hours, and crews in the field installing within 48 hours. A miss on the timing of any of the individual parts would have delayed the entire job.

Special Considerations

The project manager on the Cox side happened to be an employee who had recently joined out firm. This gave him a unique inside/outside perspective as he collaborated with the teams. He credits our success to how the trades “killed it” by all working together. Field and shop, sheet metal team and pipefitter team, everyone had to work in lock step. It was the depth of experience that made the difference. Without the usual time to map out all steps in detail, the project manager would explain what was needed, and then it was: “Just go. Get creative and get it done.” From techs with 20+ years of experience, to the people learning from them, everyone had to draw on their hands-on experience and knowledge of the work.

It was the depth of experience that made the difference.

The Customer Win

Incredibly, just 34 days after the initial walkthrough, the system was balanced and completed. Our project manager sums up the project this way: “I’ve never come from a place where I had that much technical expertise behind me. What made it possible was having a good team. Our people took it and ran with it.”