University Hospital Changes Haitian Health Care

University Hospital Haiti A collaboration between Partners in Health and the Haitian Ministry of Health has lead to a turning point in the history of Haitian health care. Last month, a patient received the first ever surgery in Mirebalais’ newly opened University Hospital. It was the first of many surgeries in the new, fully equipped public hospital with a state-of-the-art operating room. JML Engineering was proud to help make this hospital possible.

“We’re thrilled that construction of Hôpital Universitaire de Mirebalais, in Mirebalais, Haiti, is complete. The 205,000-square foot, 300-bed facility—called HUM for short—will fill a huge void, locally and nationally, for people who previously had limited access to quality health care,” said physicians for PIH/Zanmi Lasante and members of the executive leadership team of Mirebalais National Teaching Hospital.

Haiti Hospital Uses Solar PowerHaiti’s first ever teaching hospital, University Hospital is also expected to be the largest solar powered hospital in the world that creates over 100% of it’s energy during daylight hours. Energy is expensive in Haiti and this solar roof is estimated to save the hospital’s operating costs $379,000 a year. “The challenge was in the design and engineering, and getting the solar power produced to mesh with the often unstable grids and the backup generators,” said Jim Ansara, University Hospital’s director of design and construction. “At each step of the way, we were attempting things that had never before been done in Haiti.” John Looney and JML Engineering were an integral part of the project and building the hospital. There were construction obstacles while building the hospital, Looney says the hospital’s 24-ft to 28-ft spans and load-bearing walls are unlike the 10-ft by 10-ft un-reinforced modules that typically are found in Haiti.

Article Sources and Images from Partners in Health:
http://www.pih.org/blog/mirebalais-hospital-construction
http://www.pih.org/blog/solar-powered-hospital-in-haiti-yields-sustainable-savings

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Plum Island Beach House Turned Into A Home

Beach House

The new 1,963-square-foot home is elevated, built on driven steel pilings so water and sand can move freely under and around the home. [Trent Bell Photography]

Mark and Teresa Richey enjoyed a small beach house on Plum Island as a conveniently located part-time ocean-side cottage. After deciding to transition this tiny space into a full-time home, they needed help getting the most out of their amazing view,  maximizing the square footage, and deciding what building materials would work well with the beach-side environment. Expertise was sought from Boston-based engineer John Looney and JML Engineering.

High water levels, zoning ordinances, and weather storms and conditions were all major concerns to be addressed in order to make this house a year round home. The new 1,963-square-foot home is elevated, built on driven steel pilings so water and sand can move freely under and around the home. The home’s exterior has no coatings or finishes, keeping maintenance to a minimum. The deck, made of a dense tropical hardwood similar to ipe, will turn gray over time, as will the Alaskan yellow cedar shingles on the home’s exterior. The other main features, making this home a beauty, are the lookout tower that offers a 360 degree view; an open floor plan with floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors facing the ocean; and the home’s deck with a curved silhouette that mimics the natural contours of the sand dunes around it.

Today, Mark says, there is more sand around the home than when they bought it, and the new construction has proved sound, weathering Hurricane Sandy without a hitch. “We’ve been having storms like this forever,” he says. “The one in 1978 was even more powerful than recent ones; we just need to be prepared. . . . The key is to build correctly. Ours is as good as technology allows.”

Full Boston Globe Article.