Case Studies

St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center

By implementing a truly unique strategy, Art Iron, Inc., in partnership with the Mercy Health Partners design team, successfully completed the design and construction of the new St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center Heart Pavilion in Toledo, Ohio. Through use of a design/build structural steel frame, the project was completed in record time with lower costs than a conventional design/bid/build  method could ever have achieved.

In January 2005, the initial architectural concept drawings for the four-story, 144,000-square-foot facility (with room for expansion) were created. Just ten months later, in October 2005, erection of the main steel framing was completed. A final piece, the walkway bridge, to the existing facility was installed on Saturday, December 3, 2005.

A design/build project is most successful when the owner and his representatives understand the advantage of the construction philosophy. Mercy Health Partners subscribed to this ideal thus saving eight weeks of front-end lead-time that would have otherwise been spent on completing design, bidding and award of the structural steel in traditional design/bid/build  methods. Art Iron was invited be a part of the design team early on; members were allowed to use their collective knowledge to solve complex construction issues before costly design changes (common in traditional construction methods) were required. The high level of trust, communication and cooperation enabled the design team to reduce errors, cut out waste and streamline the design.

The success of all structural steel-framed projects starts with an Engineer of Record (EOR) that not only understands the calculation requirements of the building but also the constructability of the project. The EOR needs to be flexible in the means and methods so that the fabricator and erector can bring optimal value to the project. Project EOR Ruby & Associates understood the value of electronic document sharing to seamlessly join the steel design and fabrication elements. Ruby proved the engineering analysis and created the structural 3D model that was translated electronically by the steel detailing program to create shop drawings for fabrication of the steel reducing the detailing phase by five weeks over conventional construction methods. Art Iron provided input into the design model throughout the design process to create economies in both time and money.

A Study in Design Build Construction

When the 3D model was complete, the files were sent electronically to Art Iron to generate an Advance Bill of Materials for ordering raw steel. Our early involvement allowed us to reserve tonnage of specific member sizes at the rolling mills in advance. Once confirmed, the raw materials were delivered much sooner than in traditional construction. Our direct input into specific member sizes with the EOR to use our stock inventory wisely resulted in a significant cost savings for our client. By working together on the creation of the shop drawings resulted in an ease of translation between the EOR's 3D model and Art Iron's 3D detailing model saving weeks of approval and production time which, in turn, saves money. This method saved significant time in the schedule by facilitating (real time) collaboration on the structural steel design, ordering steel, actual detailing and the approval cycle for the steel structure. Plus, the use of cold-formed materials in the design of traditional hot- rolled material for certain structural elements saved the project as much as $300,000, and four weeks of fabrication and erection schedule. When all was said and done, the team had produced a finished product much faster and more economical than any conventional design/bid/build construction method and the client couldn't have been more pleased.

The Facts

Design/Build Method Design/Bid/Build Method
Design Time: 10 weeks Design Time: 10 weeks
Bid/Estimate Time: 0 weeks Bid / Estimate Time: 4 weeks
Award Time: 0 Weeks Award Time: 1 week
Prepare ABM: 1 day Prepare ABM: 3 weeks
Order Material: 1 week Order Material: 1 week
Detail Shop Drawings: 6 weeks Detail Shop Drawings: 8 weeks
Approval Review Time: 1 week Approval Review Time: 3 weeks
Incorporate Design Changes: 1 week Incorporate Design Changes: 4 weeks
Fabricate Steel: 8 weeks Fabricate Steel: 9 weeks
Erect Steel: 8 weeks Erect Steel: 9 weeks
Total Duration: 34 weeks 1 Day Total Duration: 53 weeks


Dollars and Sense: Dollars and Sense:
$2,345,000.00 $2,800,000.00
$16.28 / SF $19.44 / SF
772 Tons 910 Tons
$3,037.57 / Ton $3,076,92 / Ton


Project Timeline:
Design Began – January 2005
Construction Began – Spring 2005
Steel Fabrication Began – July 2005
Steel Erection Began – August 2005
Steel Erection Complete – October 2005
Walkway Bridge Complete – December 2005

Project Team:

  • Owner's Representative - George Karagiorge with Mercy Health Partners
  • Construction Manager - The Lathrop Company
  • Architect - Martel Associates Structural
  • Engineer of Record - Ruby + Associates, P.C.
  • Steel Fabricator / Erector Art Iron, Inc. / Gurtzweiler