Flexible pipes add to new hospital’s seismic safety

Because of Loma Linda University Health’s proximity to major earthquake faults, creative engineering solutions have been developed to help the new structures withstand any type of major seismic activity.

At its foundation, the building sits on 126 building isolators. Each weighing nearly 10 tons, the isolators are designed to absorb ground motion during an earthquake, while allowing the building to only move in a minimal way. Surrounding the building is a four-foot “moat,” which will allow for additional protection to the building in an earthquake.

While the isolators are protecting the main building, there are a number of pipes that will carry needed resources into the hospital that must be able to withstand a quake as well. These pipes are typically made of rigid metal or plastic. This project needs connecting pipes that contribute to the building’s earthquake resistance.

To reduce stress on the pipes during an earthquake, architects and engineers design isolation systems that will minimize movement by placing less stress on the anchors during an earthquake. The new hospital project uses various types of flexible pipe configurations. Some of the largest looped pipes are 24-inches and connected to each other with braided flexible connectors. The majority of pipes connect below the ground level of the building, between level “B” and Level “A” in the moat.

Using flexible pipe systems will allow the hospital to continue receiving power, water and other needed resources during and following a major earthquake.

The new Medical Center will house 320 beds for adult patients, while the new Children’s tower will give Children’s Hospital a total of 373 licensed beds. The new facilities will also be a place where 4,700 Loma Linda University students and 700 residents will progress in their education.

The massive construction project is a part of Loma Linda University Health’s Vision 2020 – The Campaign for a Whole Tomorrow. New buildings for both hospitals will meet and exceed California’s upcoming seismic requirements for hospitals.

We're sharing photographic updates of the hospital construction work on a periodic basis. Watch for special emphasis on some of the behind-the-scenes-views and untold stories at the Vision 2020 website.

This vignette is adapted from a blog by Dennis E. Park, which appears on the website www.docuvision2020.com.