9 June 2020
Healthy Projects during COVID-19
The Healthcare sector has been challenged by the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic but the good news is that all of our New Zealand hospital projects have continued despite the enormous distraction for our health clients.
Malcolm Sabourin and Craig Watkins are busy providing construction delivery and engineer to contract services at Auckland’s North Shore Hospital. This project for the Waitemata District Health Board comprises of the demolition of the Pupuke and Taharoto buildings. This needs to be completed before work starts on building eight elective theatres, 115 inpatient beds, an endoscopy suite and centralised sterile services department.
The first challenge was the complexity of the historic mental health and maternity wards, with concerns about the management of staff and the public whilst works were underway, in particular, the requirement to demolish the building in a controlled manner within an operating hospital campus. The second challenge came during Level 3 with the neighbouring Elective Surgery Centre becoming an emergency centre for the COVID-19 response.
The project has been a complex one, including coordinating with facilities management, understanding the complexities of existing assets’ capacity and age and maintaining the required level of service, whilst minimising or eliminating any disruption to the campus. This is achieved through construction phasing and staging, and continual liaison with multiple stakeholders to meet programme.
The infrastructure works, which commenced in late 2019, allow for the relocation and upgrading of existing in-ground infrastructure for the new Elective Capacity Inpatient Beds facility to be built, plus the opportunity to provide an increased level of water supply resilience to the hospital. The components of infrastructure involve potable and fire water mains, HV electrical supplies, new inlet gas supply and primary connections to public supplies, IT ductwork and cable turning pits to improve site coverage.
Elaine Ngan is a Wellington-based Senior Project Manager and our NZ Health Sector Lead. She joined TSA in 2017 after eight years with Capital & Coast District Health Board (CCDHB) years as a project manager in the Facilities and Engineering Department. Since joining TSA Elaine has continued to work across a range of sectors, but she maintains a continued focus and interest in the healthcare sector.
Elaine is particularly experienced when it comes to mental health delivery, an experience she acquired during her five years at CCDHB working with the Mental Health, Addictions and Intellectual Disability Service, where she provided a comprehensive range of project management services. Working in this arena has afforded Elaine a thorough understanding of the demands and challenges for the design of mental health accommodation. This invaluable experience assists her in translating client requirements and objectives into practical fit for purpose spaces.
Level 4 Response Work.
For the past year, the TSA team in Tauranga has been engaged to carry out a Medical Gases Plant Upgrade at Tauranga Hospital. Site work was well underway prior to the COVID-19 Level 4 Lockdown. The project’s aim was to run the Tauranga Hospital’s medical air on gas bottles – a key input for ICU ventilator units. Unit testing, swapping over alarms and installation of new lifeline support systems were required to protect the plant’s operations.
The week before Level 4 measures were put in place, the District Health Board contacted TSA to see if we could accelerate the project in response to the pandemic. The TSA attitude was “yes we can!”.
We rapidly called through our contacts and pulled in a team from Auckland to help accelerate the remaining planning and execution. The result being TSA and the team delivering the bulk of the remaining project stages over 5 days, 3 days into the Level 4 Lockdown – allowing the hospital to help cope with the potential influx of COVID-19 cases.
Over in Australia, for the past 2 months, TSA staff have been seconded into Health Infrastructure NSW to assist with their COVID-19 pandemic response. Amongst the number of projects carried out was a role to source and manufacture ventilators for hospitals. This required coordination and negotiation through the supply chain – including government and health organisations – to ensure the appropriate critical-care needs were met in a historically unique and changing environment.