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Doka’s Modular Formwork Helps to Quickly 
Complete VA Hospital Renovations

As a war continues oversees, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) aims to accommodate injured and ill soldiers returning from combat, along with the thousands of other veterans in the U.S. in need of medical treatment and long-term care. In South Texas, the Audie L. Murphy Memorial Veterans Hospital is comprised of 462 authorized hospital beds, offering services that range from surgical care to psychiatric and geriatric care. In an effort to expand the facility and therefore extend capabilities, the VA Hospital received funding from the Department for general renovations to the hospital in July 2007. 

Recently, additional funding was provided to the hospital to renovate its existing Surgical Intensive Care Unit. Transitional housing at the new Polytrauma Rehabilitation Center will be added as well, supporting veterans who have suffered multiple traumatic injuries with the goal of returning them to independent living. 

With the major part of the formwork scheduled to wrap up in April 2008, contractor McGoldrick Construction strives to meet the hospital’s goal of a timely completion. The $10.5 million renovation project began in November 2007, and will add 50,000 square feet to the hospital’s existing footprint. The additional square footage is going to be primarily used for administration so that the hospital can better serve veterans.

Rust removal and painting is eliminated because the frame is hot-dipped galvanized, which reduces maintenance costs. The plywood has a longer lifespan because it is all birch and the edges are sealed with hot caulking. The frames of the panels are made of torsion resistant hollow-section steel profiles. With three tie-offs per 9-foot panel, work progresses safely. The safety tie-off handle meets OSHA requirements.  Frami is a complete system for typical low height forming. It is easy to set by hand and rugged enough to be moved in gang by crane.   The corner solutions are based on the strong, torsion-proof Frami inside corner. The Frami outside corner is an easy and problem-free way of forming corners in narrow trench situations or where large wall thicknesses are called for.  Quick Panel Connection -- Save time in assembly with only three lightweight Frami Clamps per 9-foot vertical joint (only 2.6 pounds and it goes on with one hand).

Facing unique beam conditions that required a cantilever beyond the perimeter, McGoldrick Construction enlisted Doka USA to provide a solution to meet the construction challenge. The design was met by placing offset 10 kip towers with tiebacks to achieve the cantilevered design of the perimeter. The contractor selected approximately 4,600 square feet of Doka’s Frami formwork to form the core walls and beam sides. The base walls were 7 feet, 6 inches high and 12 inches wide. The system’s modular design allows for unlimited possible combinations in both width and height. Panels can be used either upright or horizontal, and the 6-inch increment together with the steel fillers offer optimum adaptability of the formwork to the dimensions of the structure.

After pouring the core additions, the job will be completed by wrapping the steel beams and columns with concrete. The shoring supporting the beams has a 10 kip load, providing stability until the concrete has hardened. The Frami panel frames are made of torsion resistant hollow-section steel profiles, and the solid construction and asymmetrical position of the ties allows full liquid head pours up to 9 feet with only two ties.

With time being of the essence on this project, McGoldrick Construction was able to avoid additional time involved in using cranes to lift the formwork on the jobsite as Doka’s Frami panels are lightweight and can be erected quickly and easily by hand. The system provided the contractor with a quick, cost-effective means to construct the perimeter of the building with easy assembly that doesn’t require the aid of lifting equipment. Quick panel connection is possible with only three lightweight Frami clamps per 9-foot vertical joint, saving time in assembly by joining and aligning the panels with just one blow from a hammer. Moreover, because Frami can be handset with 80 percent fewer parts and 40 percent fewer ties than conventional handset systems, it also saved McGoldrick Construction considerably on equipment and labor costs.

To ensure safety on site, Doka provided handrail clamps that act as a universal barrier for all platforms, slab edges and deck openings. The company also provides three safety tie-off handles per 9 feet of panel, meeting OSHA requirements and enhancing construction crew security while working. 

The contractor has been pleased with the design of the formwork and ease of assembly. Mike Kellmann, Project Manager, from McGoldrick Construction said, “We were also pleased with the level of service we received from Doka. They completely understood our needs for the project and came through with a design that worked.”

Another benefit of the Frami formwork is less maintenance down the road, and a product that will remain tough and durable for years to come. This is due to the frame being hot-dipped galvanized, eliminating rust removal and painting all together. The formwork also provides a better finish with an all-birch plywood face and protected tie hole. This contributes to reduced maintenance costs as the edges are also sealed with hot caulking, promoting longer plywood lifespan.

As the April completion date approaches, the Audie L. Murphy Memorial Veterans Hospital is much closer to being a state-of-the-art facility with plenty of space and resources for those who need it. With the expanded and improved facilities finished, the Department of Veterans Affairs will be able to continue working toward its objective: to provide excellence in patient care, veterans' benefits and customer satisfaction.

About DOKA 
With nearly 50 years experience in formwork engineering, DOKA serves customers in more than 35 countries and has participated in construction of some of the world’s best-known structures including the world’s tallest skyscraper (Burj Dubai), the Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge, along with many other projects of all sizes. From wall and slab formwork systems to automatic climbing technology and superior safety solutions, Doka can deliver any type of formwork needed for residential, industrial, commercial, transportation, infrastructure as well as stadium and sports arena projects. For more information, please visit www.dokausa.com, or call 877-DOKA-USA.


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