Steely determination underpins hospital projects

December 14, 2023 | Health

Two major health care projects are taking shape against the Sydney skyline – skeletons of structural steel.

Construction within an operating hospital environment is notoriously complex and challenging.

Over in North Sydney, our team is constructing a new Palliative Care Facility and upgrading the Day Surgery Unit at The Mater Private Hospital. Stage 2 works sees the extension of an existing hospital wing above a carpark.

This stage involves four new levels of portal frame construction, incorporating structural steel and composite slabs of steel decking and concrete.

The ground floor is installed and ready for a concrete pour before Christmas, with levels 1 to 3 scheduled for completion in the new year.

Site Manager Brian Ring and the team have responded to the challenges of materials handling on a constrained site.

“Due to the weight limitations of the self-erecting tower crane, each level of the extension’s south-west corner required a secondary mobile crane to set up and install the components.”

In positioning the second crane on site: “We consulted with structural engineers and worked closely with The Mater on planning and coordination. Access to the hospital was limited throughout the crane’s duration on site.”

With over 73 tonnes of steel on site, materials are evenly distributed across the existing carpark to ensure the weight and subsequent pressure on the structure remains below 3.5kpa per square metre.

In coming days, almost 350 assemblies of steel members will occur. In the background, steel deliveries are drip-fed to site with only one truck permitted at a time.

Meanwhile, our site team at St Vincent’s Hospital in Darlinghurst is mid-way through construction of a new Intensive Care Unit (ICU) Pod and supporting Plant Room in the Xavier Building.

“We are basically sandwiched between the public and private hospital, with patient and consulting rooms directly adjacent to our work,” says Construction Manager Paul DiGiulio.

“It’s a highly visible area and we have to proceed very carefully.”

All works require a two-week notification period to ensure the surrounding hospital is not impacted. Incredibly, the new level 6 ICU Pod is located directly above the existing ICU rooms where critical patient care is in progress.

Temporary waterproofing membrane was installed in the ceiling to eliminate the risk of ingress to below ICU rooms while necessary penetrations were made.

Sitting above the lift motor room, the tower crane is handling the 40 tonnes of structural steel delivered to site.

Earlier in the year, Paul and the team completed the refurbishment of the existing Heart Lung Clinic in the same building.

“We are consistently working in occupied environments of acute sensitivity,” says the 10-year veteran of the company.

Learn more about Paynter Dixon’s health care work.