Australia’s public healthcare sector is enjoying tremendous building and refurbishment activity. In this article we present a state-by-state overview of some of the most important projects.
NEW SOUTH WALES
Leading global construction and contracting business Brookfield Multiplex has recently completed the third and final stage of the $128 million Auburn Hospital redevelopment at Hargrave Street, Auburn, in New South Wales. The project was completed two months ahead of schedule – and also picked up the New South Wales MBA Award for the best Health Building project ($50 to $150 million category) in 2010.
Designed by Silver Thomas Hanley in association with Hassell, the new hospital incorporates state-of-the-art facilities based on contemporary care models. It comprises two main wings with approximately 25,000 square metres of space and two central courtyards, providing a tranquil area for patients and employees. The four-year redevelopment was completed on behalf of New South Wales Health and comprised the demolition of the existing hospital and subsequent design and construction of a new hospital and car park. The project also included the design and construction of a new 3000-square metre community hub, which was the final stage of the project.
The hospital provides 24-hour emergency care, acute medical and surgical services, maternity services, and allied health and outpatient services, while the stand-alone community health centre provides secondary healthcare for the local community.
Stage One of the project started in early 2007 and was completed in March, 2009, a full five months ahead of schedule. Stage Two, the demolition and construction of the new car park, commenced in May 2009, and was completed in December 2009, also five months ahead of schedule. The hospital functioned as normal while under construction to minimise disruption to patients – noise and dust were kept to a minimum and Brookfield Multiplex ensured that vibrations would not affect the operation of CT scanners.
In other healthcare news from New South Wales, the recently opened Rice Daubney-designed Liverpool Hospital Clinical Services Building 2 (CSB2) establishes a new benchmark in the design and delivery of contemporary tertiary healthcare. Health architecture always poses significant challenges. The delivery of a complex tertiary hospital facility within one of the state’s busiest healthcare environments, completed under challenging economic constraints and with the added issues of a complex delivery model, makes CSB2 an extremely noteworthy project.
Located at Elizabeth Street in Liverpool, the $290 million hospital is defined by its impressive double-volume linear public concourse, with a dramatic glass façade that extends the length of the northern elevation of the building and doubles as a tool for navigation around the hospital. Rational circulation for users and a spacious light-filled interior visually connect patients and visitors to parts of the hospital, making it easier to navigate and providing an important sense of space.
“Traditional hospitals are uninviting and daunting places,” says Ronald Hicks, principal and head of Health and Research at Rice Daubney. “Our design has literally made the hospital transparent, allowing people to find the department they need, and helping visitors to find patients as quickly as possible.
“The design focuses on health rather than illness to aid the healing process; and the large façade provides an abundance of light to make the hospital brighter. Liverpool Hospital is now a place which is full of life for patients, visitors and staff,” he says.
The $1.76 billion Gold Coast University Hospital (GCUH) project is being constructed to deliver improved healthcare services to the greater local catchment.
Recently, Minister for Health Geoff Wilson poured the final slab of concrete for the main hospital building, in a major milestone for the project.
Wilson says the event represented the completion of all building structures on the 20-hectare site.
“The top-out of the nine-level Clinical Services Building is a great step forward for this vital health project to provide Gold Coasters with access to world-class healthcare, closer to where they live,” he says.
“This main building for the hospital site will house operating theatres, medical imaging, the expanded emergency department and specialised inpatient units.”
Wilson says the Clinical Services Building will also include a rooftop helipad for high-level trauma patient retrieval.
“This building will serve as the central core for all incoming medical emergencies to GCUH, providing world-class facilities and care to Gold Coast residents needing expert medical attention.
“It will also be attached to the Inpatient Buildings that will house the 750 beds for the hospital.”
Member for Southport Peter Lawlor says the Queensland Government is spending more than $2 billion on health infrastructure across the Gold Coast to ensure locals have the healthcare they need now and into the future.
“The GCUH will feature new and expanded services, ensuring timely access to local healthcare and minimising the need for travel to Brisbane to receive certain types of medical treatment.
“For example, new radiotherapy services at GCUH will mean up to 800 cancer patients each year will be able to receive treatment on the Gold Coast rather than Brisbane.
“And an expanded neo-natal intensive care unit will mean up to 400 newborns can be looked after each year and their parents can stay closer to home while their youngest family members receive care,” adds Lawlor.
A three-dimensional model of the hospital was also on show in the Trades Pavilion at this year’s Gold Coast Show in September.
Member for Broadwater Peta-Kaye Croft says the GCUH facility is more than three times the size of the existing Gold Coast Hospital, with a total floor area of 175,000 square metres.
The South Australian Government continues to demonstrate strong and visionary leadership as it aims to achieve a 4 Star Green Star rating for the New Royal Adelaide Hospital, says the nation’s leading green building authority, the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA).
According to chief executive of the GBCA, Romilly Madew, SA Health has targeted a 4 Star Green Star rating for the hospital project, representing ‘best practice’ in environmentally sustainable design.
“In attaining a 4 Star Green Star rating, the South Australian Government will demonstrate not only its commitment to environmental and financial sustainability, but also its determination to improve the health and well-being of South Australians.
“We know Green Star-rated healthcare buildings conserve energy and water, so they are cheaper to operate. What’s more, a growing body of research suggests that green healthcare facilities improve patient outcomes and reduce health risks to staff.
“The New Royal Adelaide Hospital project will deliver a facility built to ‘best practice’ standards that will also demonstrate the most financially, environmentally and socially sustainable outcomes.
“One of the GBCA’s five priorities is to work with governments around Australia to green schools and hospitals. We are actively encouraging best practice outcomes for schools, universities, hospitals and health clinics around Australia as the best way to achieve long-term sustainability without straining budgets and resources.
“SA Health should be acknowledged as a national leader in sustainable health facilities, with a commitment to minimising environmental impacts and effectively future-proofing its buildings.
“We look forward to working closely with SA Health on this and future projects,” Madew concludes.
The future of the Mersey Community Hospital at Latrobe has been assured through a new three-year funding deal signed between the Australian and Tasmanian Governments.
Commonwealth Minister for Health and Ageing Nicola Roxon, and Tasmanian Minister for Health Michelle O’Byrne, welcomed the new agreement as providing for the continuation of high-quality healthcare for people living in north-west Tasmania.
“The signing of this new three-year agreement means that the Mersey Community Hospital will continue to provide important services such as the emergency department and high-dependency unit, as it has since we signed the previous agreement in 2008,” Roxon says.
“Under the new agreement, the Commonwealth Government will provide Mersey with $197.6 million over the next three years, an increase compared to the $180 million provided under the previous three-year agreement. The new agreement specifies the same core services as the previous agreement, such as the high-dependency unit, 24/7 emergency department, low-risk obstetrics and gynaecological care, surgery, oncology and outpatient care. This investment in the Mersey Hospital follows the Federal Government’s commitment of $340 million to a new Royal Hobart Hospital and $88.9 million for elective surgery, emergency departments and 30 more sub-acute beds.”
O’Byrne says the new agreement will mean additional funding of $17.56 million for the Mersey Community Hospital over the three-year life of the agreement.
The Mersey Community Hospital has been owned by the Commonwealth since 23 November 2007, and operated and managed by the Tasmanian Government since 1 September 2008. The new agreement took effect on 1 July 2011.
In other Tasmanian healthcare infrastructure news, the GBCA has applauded the Tasmanian Government’s commitment to meet Green Star benchmarks for every new school, hospital and health centre in the state.
The Tasmanian Minister for Climate Change, Cassy O’Connor, recently released Tasmania’s Action Plan to Reduce Emissions. The plan outlines the Government’s immediate priority plan for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
“We are delighted to see the Tasmanian Government adopt new measures to improve the energy efficiency of its buildings, particularly the promise that all new building works undertaken for schools, hospitals and community health centres will meet 5 Star Green Star benchmarks,” says chief executive of the GBCA, Romilly Madew.
Brookfield Multiplex, a leading global construction and contracting business, has been appointed to design and build the $210 million University of Melbourne’s Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity.
Located on the corner of Royal Parade and Grattan Street, Parkville, the new Institute will be housed in a 12-storey, 26,000-square metre state-of-the-art building comprising basement car parking levels, laboratory zones, lecture halls, and office and support areas.
“We are excited to showcase our technical skills with this facility and be involved with a project that will lead the way for future research facilities in the southern hemisphere,” says Dean Lockhart, regional managing director of Brookfield Multiplex.
Some 700 scientists, researchers and technicians will work in the facility, which is to be purpose-built for researching the spread of diseases such as pandemic influenza and SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) in the Asia-Pacific region, as well as unknown or emerging diseases.
Brookfield Multiplex won the project following the successful completion of the Melbourne Brain Centre, which is also within the Parkville precinct. The 5 Star Green Star Neuroscience Research Centre was completed almost four months ahead of schedule.
“We have confidence that Brookfield Multiplex will bring the highest level of building expertise required to complete this state-of-the-art research and teaching facility,” says Professor Jim McCluskey, the University of Melbourne’s vice-chancellor (Research).
Construction of the project began in August and is expected to be completed in late 2013.
Also in Victoria, the Bass Coast community will receive extra hospital beds and a new rehabilitation centre thanks to a new $4.5 million funding agreement.
Visiting Bass Coast Regional Health in Wonthaggi recently, Minister for Health David Davis said the hospital would receive $4.5 million from the National Health Reform agreement, which the Victorian Coalition Government renegotiated earlier this year.
“This funding under the National Partnership Agreement on Improving Public Hospital Services will support the Government’s commitment to improve access to elective surgery, emergency treatment and subacute care,” Davis says.
“At COAG (council of Australian Governments) we successfully negotiated funding for a range of capital projects to expand sub-acute services and reduce the pressure on hospitals across Victoria.
“Bass Coast Regional Health will receive $4.5 million as a result of these negotiations to undertake refurbishment for an additional two sub-acute beds and the development of a new community rehabilitation centre.
“Through this renegotiated National Health Reform Agreement, Victorians will benefit from an extra $440 million in funding for public hospitals with an extra 32,000 Victorian patients treated this year.”
John Holland has been named as the managing contractor to deliver the new $1.2 billion children’s hospital in Perth, Western Australia.
The prestigious project forms the cornerstone of the Western Australian State Government’s investment in delivering major social infrastructure for future generations.
The value of works to be delivered by John Holland on the project will total approximately $800 million, subject to progression to the second phase of the two-stage ‘managing contractor’ process.
The landmark project includes the design and construction of a new, state-of-the-art children’s hospital to replace the existing Princess Margaret Hospital for Children (PMH). The vision for the new facility is to create a centre of excellence that provides child and adolescent-focused and family-centred care for all Western Australians. It will be constructed on the QEII Medical Centre site, further establishing this site as a premier medical precinct in Australia.
John Holland Group managing director, Glenn Palin, says, “[The announcement] follows our recent success with the Perth City Link Project and builds on our long history delivering major public health projects both in Western Australia and around the country.
“This new contract will consolidate our reputation as one of Australia’s premier building contractors and one of the major construction providers to the health sector. We look forward to working closely with the Western Australian Government and our other project partners toward the successful completion of this important project.”
General manager of John Holland’s Western Region, Adam Harry, says, “John Holland has assembled an industry-leading team of architects, engineers, project managers and construction professionals with contemporary experience in the design of paediatric health facilities, combined with John Holland’s local knowledge and expertise in the construction of major hospital projects. We are proud to have been entrusted to deliver the new children’s hospital for the people of Western Australia, presenting a ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity to deliver a critical piece of social infrastructure for generations to come.”
The hospital will provide tertiary level health services, including inpatient and outpatient care and ambulatory care services. It will have capacity for 274 beds, house the state’s only paediatric trauma centre and nearly double the number of theatres that presently exist at PMH.
Design development has already begun, with works expected to start on-site in January 2012 and completion by mid-2015.