When every second counts, there’s no time to waste clearing snow or ice. That’s why the team at Boston MedFlight decided to install snowmelt products at its new headquarters and operations center at Hanscom Field in Bedford, Massachusetts.
Viega got the call for snowmelt and radiant heating products that are used inside the hangar and building. In fact, Viega’s Climate Mats, preconstructed rolls of radiant tubing that make large projects quicker and easier, were used – and that was a first in Massachusetts.
CSI Engineers worked on the $17 million Boston MedFlight project, which included the 20,000-square-foot hangar. Jason Churches was the engineer for the project design and had previous experience with Viega (particularly ProPress products). He also knows his local Viega Technical Managers – Reid Goodrich and Paul Jappe – and they suggested Climate Mat.
“Reid brought it to the table and presented it to us. He helped with the design and layouts for the radiant and the manifolds and everything that we used,” Churches said. “It was a great way to save time and money by putting this in.”
Because the hangar and outside area for the helipad for Boston MedFlight’s helicopters were fairly square in size, Climate Mat was simple to execute and easy to work with. Mike Bafaro, Vice President for J.J. Bafaro Mechanical Contractors, who worked on the project, said although they’d done radiant projects before, none were to this large of a scale, and they’d never used a product like Viega’s Climate Mat.
“We knew Viega designed the project and we knew Reid had worked with the engineer on the initial design, but one of our biggest questions was the labor factor of putting it in,” Bafaro said. “Certainly now, watching the install and seeing the labor savings, we would definitely use the product again. It worked great, the installers loved it and we would not hesitate to use it again.”
While radiant products indoors keep the temperature in the hangar comfortable for workers, the snowmelt products outside are what really shine. For a medical nonprofit organization like Boston MedFlight, snowmelt wasn’t just a perk. It was a necessity.
“Everyone wants to do snowmelt until they often realize that it might be cost prohibitive,” said Churches. “But with this being a life safety point, it’s a no brainer. If you can’t get a plane or helicopter out because of snow, that’s a problem. And you can’t put things like rock salt on a helipad. Snowmelt just makes sense.”
Nearly 21,000 square feet of radiant was installed, including 18,000 square feet in the main hangar, done with Viega Climate Mat. There is nearly 10,000 square feet of snowmelt, most of it in front of the main hangar doors. There are nine Viega mixing stations with actuators (one for each manifold for the radiant system). Viega ProPress products were also used for plumbing within the facility.
Bafaro talked about how not only did the products work well, but the support from Viega was topnotch too.
“Reid was local and he was out here. He would go over the install whenever we needed tech support. He was there supporting the job the whole way,” Bafaro said.
J.J. Bafaro did the controls and wiring and balancing of the system, but subcontracted Piping Systems to do the actual installation of the radiant and snowmelt systems. Although Bafaro wasn’t directly involved in the installation, he said it was easy to see the benefit of Viega and the Climate Mats.
“Extreme labor savings,” he said simply. “You’re rolling out these mats versus doing all the individual tubing, and that’s a huge number. It made sense with that large of a square-footage area and because it was shaped like a big square. The mats were the best application and I’d recommend it to anybody looking to do an install of this type.”
Design for the Boston MedFlight Headquarters and Operations Center started back in 2016, with construction ramping up in 2017. A ribbon cutting ceremony was held in November 2018 to celebrate the opening of the 54,000-square-foot facility.
Boston MedFlight is the region’s primary provider of critical-care transport by air and ground. The nonprofit cares for more than 4,500 patients each year. World renowned, the program was established by a group of Boston’s leading academic medical centers and partners with community hospitals, pre-hospital providers including fire departments and EMS services, as well as other air medical programs across the region.