Celebration Marks Placement of Final  Beam

A team of architects, planners, builders, engineers, senior leaders and other staff showed up to watch a traditional “Topping Out” ceremony as the final steel beam was placed atop the three-story addition to NorthBay Medical Center on Friday, March 31.

That steel — some 650 tons of it — went up quickly in just over a two-week period, thanks to technology developed in the Bay Area.

A revolutionary building system called ConX lets construction workers install steel much like the way a child would use an erector set. Each piece of steel was predesigned for installation without traditional on-site welding, making for faster and safer construction.

At NorthBay, a crane lifted three pieces of steel at a time, and each was snapped into place within minutes. This allowed for 60 pieces of steel to be erected each work day.

The topping off ceremony included placement of an American flag on one side, and a tree on the other end of the final beam.

The builders’ rite can be traced to the ancient Scandinavian rite of placing a tree atop a new building to appease the tree-dwelling spirits displaced in its construction.

Metal decking and railing are now being installed. And, a temporary portable elevator, called a man lift, has been added for the construction workers.

The next step in construction will be filling the vertical steel with concrete.

The new structure, part of a $200 million modernization project on the Fairfield campus, is expected to open in 2019, and will feature 22 new “patient rooms of the future,” new, state-of-the-art surgical suites, a hospital cafeteria, Nutrition Services, Diagnostic Imaging and supply rooms.