University Mechanical Engineering Contractors Inc. has received the 2017 Tom Guilfoy Craftsmanship of the Year Award presented by the California chapter of the Sheet Metal and Air-Conditioning Contractors’ National Association.

The annual award recognizes a project where attention to detail and expertise are critical, highlighting the teamwork among sheet metal workers, contractors and owners. UMEC, which is based in El Cajon, California, with an office in Los Angeles, earned the award in recognition of the mechanical contracting work it completed on the UC San Diego Jacobs Medical Center in La Jolla, California.

The project included mechanical and plumbing work for a new 12-story, 500,000-square-foot patient tower and a 70,000-square-foot renovation to the existing Thornton Hospital. The new HVAC system included more than 1 million pounds of ductwork, 54 fan coil units, 50 fan-powered high-efficiency particulate air filters, 718 reheat coils, 2,235 fire/smoke dampers and 1,575 air valves, company officials said.

“UMEC takes great pride in being able to complete the most challenging and complex mechanical projects,” said Steve Shirley, president and CEO of UMEC. “To be recognized by our peers with the 2017 Tom Guilfoy Award for craftsmanship is a tremendous honor and represents validation of the technical capabilities we bring to the broad scope of our clients’ projects.”

The large project wasn’t without challenges, company officials said, which included the installation of the mechanical systems into extremely tight mechanical interstitial mezzanines located above each floor.

“A great deal of planning and coordination went into the system layout and installation within the interstitial mezzanines to enable future expansion, maintenance, service, inspection and testing of the mechanical systems,” Shirley said.

Additionally, the company had to figure out how to accommodate the building design’s requirement of 750,000 cubic feet of air per minute. The task required an underground exterior air duct tunnel, where the duct traveled under part of the building foundation and was anchored down using straps cast into concrete. The duct was then encased in a cement slurry mixture and covered with backfill.

“Given the unique and challenging design perimeters, the project was a true test of ingenuity and perseverance in order to provide a top-quality installation in a premier medical center,” Shirley said.