Samaritan Pacific Communities Hospital

Integrated Sheathing elevates design-build synergy


Component Quantities: 85,000 MSF of DensElement® Sheathing
Key Companies:
Architect: The Neenan Company, Fort Collins, Colorado Sub-Contractor: Mid-Valley Construction, Inc, Salem, Oregon

Samaritan Health Services has made it their mission to care for Oregon’s more remote coastal communities. At its core, the Good Samaritan parable champions those who reach across traditional divides to work together for greater good—which is why the collaborative design-build approach implemented by The Neenan Company to expand Samaritan Pacific Communities Hospital has been critical.

Unlike traditional design-bid-build’s siloed building owners, architects, and contractors, design-build aligns all project team members across development from the start. The result? Faster decision-making, more informed strategies, fewer costly changes, more reliable budgets, and better scheduling fidelity.

As the community has grown, so have their needs. So the existing 1950s acute care facility is getting a much-needed upgrade. With expansion phase 1 done, the new hospital opened a three-story building to the public. Phase 2 will see a complete renovation of an existing structure. Then the old ’50s structure will become an expanded parking lot, with full completion in late summer 2020.

Up Against a Wall

When The Neenan Company design-build firm began to develop the new Samaritan facility, their collaborative approach immediately came in handy. Maintaining consistent hospital operational ability was crucial so that services could transition seamlessly without risking patient safety. Not an ideal construction environment, but certainly not impossible. This would take planning.
The Neenan Company’s team approached the project with detailed preparation, centralized communication, and cooperative innovation from brainstorm to build. But streamlining the schedule meant no room for weather-related downtime delays.

“The thing with the coast is, even if it may not be physically raining, the fog is heavy with moisture, which creates some issues,” explains Jason Brown, Senior Project Manager at The Neenan Company.

The estimated timeline for an efficient production schedule put phase 1 waterproofing and sheathing work smack in the middle of winter. So the main challenge became getting the building weather-tight to proceed with cladding by the time spring broke.

But with the full project team working together from the get-go, a winning solution soon was close at hand.

“The coast is a tough, tough place, with a very short window to do those things,” says Brown. “Originally, we were going to do a fluid-applied material, but the timing was not great with the rain and wind.”

But because this was a design-build project, the team had the advantage of everyone’s expertise upfront. As soon as they started considering this challenge, the drywall contractor and waterproofing consultant offered a solution. From that early collaboration came the answer: Let’s try a trusted supplier’s innovative product seen at a trade show: an integrated sheathing and weatherproofing system specially designed to handle inclement installation conditions. With looming envelope moisture control and dry-in concerns, the design-build team got to work researching DensElement® Barrier System’s constructability and crunching the numbers to confirm its viability.

"We were weather-tight faster, especially compared to doing it fluid-applied."
‒Jason Brown, Senior Project Manager, The Neenan Company

DensElement® Barrier System Saves the Project

Intrigued by this option uniquely designed to consolidate sheathing and water-resistance concerns, the team was soon convinced they’d found the right solution to solve this challenge. Combining the sheathing and weather-resistive barrier and air barrier together removes the need for a separate WRB-AB application and eliminates jobsite weather-related concerns. DensElement Barrier System fills microscopic voids in the glass mat and gypsum core via AquaKorTM Technology, creating a hydrophobic, monolithic surface that blocks bulk water while retaining vapor permeability.

“We were weather-tight faster, especially compared to doing it fluid-applied,” Brown says about the team’s ability to work through minor rain and mist. “We were able to keep working through most of the winter and get the building watertight.”

After phase 1, consistency became the name of the game. DensElement Barrier System was used across all 86,000 square feet of the hospital complex, including throughout the gutting, remodeling, and reskinning of the 41,000-square-foot existing building.

Connecting the decades-old existing facility with the brand- new structure has posed additional challenges with gaps and transitions along the way. But the Neenan Archistruction team has found another collaborative partner in Georgia-Pacific— assessing and consulting to help smooth the transitions.

“Once we put the board up, we were 90% weather-tight at the sheathing,” says Brown, just needing to finish the rough openings, joints, and seams with liquid flashing. “It’s just a huge benefit to keep production on the inside moving forward. We had a bad spring, and it could’ve cost months on the schedule if we had maintained the solution that relied on good weather. The DensElement solution provided us with the opportunity to keep moving forward and stay on track.”

Design-Build Thinking on Display

At every crucial turn in this years-long project journey, collaboration has paved the way forward. The unique design-build framework that The Neenan Company employs brought project stakeholders together to discuss challenges in real time. And with the project’s fixed bond funding guaranteeing budget at the start, this upfront collaboration made the transition to DensElement Barrier System swift and easy. From a collaborative problem-solving mindset to inventive product integration, The Neenan Company’s synergistic approach has streamlined this project for the fastest, most reliable end result.

“When you bring everyone together and talk openly, a better solution comes forward. Integrated design-build allows for flexibility and bringing multiple people together to look at different solutions for a singular problem. The sum of all parts is better than any singular part,” explains Brown. “DensElement is similar in that aspect. You have one system that allows you to get weather-tight faster and alleviate the headaches that come with it.”

Spotting early solutions to eventual project problems gave the team a strong advantage. Their willingness to embrace innovation and seek help when necessary has ensured the health facility’s ability to aid the community for years to come. Good Samaritans, indeed.

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