“The first year of the hospital redevelopment hasn’t been terribly sexy,” admits Redevelopment Project Manager Shane Tremellen. “We’ve been re-routing services and laying the foundations for the construction to come.”
Mr Tremellen says that the public can expect to see a lot of action around the Graham Street site in the next 12 months and beyond, with construction works becoming more and more visible as the new facilities take shape.
“We’ve been focused on rerouting services around the site to make way for the five storey In-patient Unit (IPU) tower,” he said.
The IPU, which will match the new court house in height have a footprint of 1500 square metres and is just one of several new upgrades projected to be completed by the end of 2019.
The Emergency Department (ED) extension will double the department’s capacity, with the new dialysis unit – which will be next to the Glasshouse – offering a similar increase in size.
The month of August was GV Health’s biggest month for ED presentations to date, highlighting the timely nature of the works.
A piling rig (pictured) will arrive onsite in a few weeks to begin sinking footings for the IPU and Emergency Department extension.
“It’s a mean machine,” said Mr Tremellen. “The rig is a big corkscrew – it drills down about 15 metres, sucks out the dirt and puts in concrete to form foundations.”
Mr Tremellen said that preparation works have meant ongoing disruptions for staff, patients and visitors. These works have necessitated shut downs of power, water, steam and fire amenities at various times.
“Shut downs are major things,” said Executive Director of Infrastructure Sandy Chamberlin. “You never shut down a major switchboard in an operating hospital, and we’ve done it twice.”
Ms Chamberlin says this involved a huge workload, with contractors working back to back over weekends and more than 27 generators on site to take up the required capacity.
These shutdowns were required to upgrade the hospital power supply and install new infrastructure while re-routing the current cabling to make way for the IPU. This has also involved the installation of a new switchboard, which allows power to run more efficiently across the site. Other works have included the laying of high voltage power cable, upgrading the hospital’s high voltage transformers to allow for two power feeds, helping provide additional redundancy to GV Health’s supply.
“It was a big thing to do in this context,” said Ms Chamberlin. “Unlike metropolitan hospitals, we can’t just go on bypass for services, we are the only hospital in the region so have to be operational at all times. It’s been an incredible effort from everyone.”
The Central Energy Plant (CEP) or plant room at the heart of the Graham Street site is another early achievement for the redevelopment, though the large black shed may look less than remarkable from the exterior.
Located between the Engineering and Supply departments, plant room works have included the installation of new switchboards, boilers and pipework in the steam plant, which supplies steam to the Central Sterilisation Services Department and the kitchen.
“It’s very impressive, filled with all the latest equipment,” said Ms Chamberlin. “Early works have not just been in the ground, but also in the establishment of the new plant room.”
Overhead, contractors have been busy installing new pipework underneath the Theatre. These new pipes service domestic hot and cold water, and were also re-routed to make way for the IPU tower. The new pipes will allow for the old boiler house to be decommissioned at the completion of the redevelopment.
With early works scheduled for completion in October and November, shut downs and disruptions will be reduced, and people can expect to witness the new facilities take shape.
“It’s a case of no pain no gain,” said Mr Tremellen. “The next stage is very exciting, and we’re grateful to everyone for their patience over the past 12 months.”