In spring 2010, Skanska received an inquiry from the Akademiska Hus property company regarding a partnership for the construction of VHC, the Veterinary and Domestic Animal Center, in Uppsala. We submitted a tender and, following detailed evaluations and interviews with the project’s key people, we were chosen to co-work in the project engineering stage. In September of the same year, we concluded a contract agreement with the Akademiska Hus property company.
Extensive ground work
In October 2010, we set up operations and turned the first sod. We excavated about 80,000 cubic meters of soil, corresponding to some 32 Olympic swimming pools, from the basement floor.
During the piling work, we used 2,500 concrete piles. Putting all these piles in a row would correspond to a length of about fifty kilometers.
Architecture that required extra adjustments
Work on the building frame began in April 2011. The greatest challenge was the circular educational section to which the other buildings are connected. Constructing a circular building requires extra adaptions and much more setting-out work.
The outer walls consist of prefabricated concrete frames with a finely polished surface of white concrete. The façade is dominated by large glass surfaces.
Overall, VHC consists of six buildings, linked by a shared main transport corridor. The work on the buildings was conducted in parallel and completed at various dates.
The most eye-catching building is the educational section that is built on four floors, with a basement.
Two anatomical theaters have been built in the research building for the dissection of animals. The model is the anatomical theater that was built during the 1600s at Gustavianum in Uppsala.
The theaters have a semi-circular form with steep viewing stands. The students stand and look down on the lecturer dissecting the animal. It is a challenge to build circular buildings, but our joiners managed it brilliantly.
Operating room for large animals
In the hospital section, we have built four operating rooms for large animals with accompanying rooms for observation. A horse weighs 600 kg, in other words, it is impossible to lift it or move it on an examining table.
We have created an ingenious construction, featuring steel beams in the roof. A hammock is connected to a lift and then it possible to move the animal between the operating room, observation room and other premises.
The design of the building must cope with heavy weights. Also, it must have a high ceiling to allow, for example, the lifting of a horse.
175,000 meters of installation cable
Another challenge is the number of installations. There are pipes for water, sewage, sprinklers, large channels for ventilation, medial gases and a good deal more. We have been actively engaged in project engineering and provided our opinions for better bearing capacity.
We have also built seven small operating theaters, a radiology room, MR room and X-ray computed tomography and small animal clinics, in addition to many other facilities.
Safety issues and the working environment
Safety has been the most important issue throughout the project. Among other things, we have had a safety officer who has worked full time with safety issues and the working environment. At morning meetings, the safety officer has outlined the risks ahead during the day and special aspects that employees should keep in mind. In addition, safety rounds were conducted each week.
Apart from Skanska’s obligatory safety introduction, in this project we have followed this up with more extensive information a few weeks later. This involved more intensive discussions regarding our behavior, meaning how our actions affect safety.
Occupation in spring 2014
The final phase of the project entails changes to suit tenants, paving, work with greenery and other features in the local environment. In spring 2014, the building will be ready for occupancy. Students at SLU (Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences) involved in animal courses will start at VHC in the autumn of 2014.
The project in figures:
• 2,500 concrete piles.
• 100,000 meters of tubing.
• 24,000 meters of channelization.
• 350,000 meters of telecommunication cable.
• 175,000 meters of installation cable.
• 23 000 meters of power cable.
• 9,000 light fittings.
• 2,319 rooms.
• More than 3,000 doors.
• 1.5 million working hours.