The Victorian Government’s $447.5 million Box Hill Hospital redevelopment is a flagship project designed to significantly improve healthcare facilities for the community. The Meinhardt team has provided structural and civil engineering services for the 45 metre tall building (total area in excess of 52,000 square metres), which will connect to the west wing of the existing hospital via an atrium and four linkways.
Forward Thinking Saved Time & Money
Sometimes good judgement and foresight can reap significant benefits and this was the case with the foundation designs as Senior Engineer, Rudy Susanto explains:
“The structure was already half built – we were at around level 3 – when the project secured additional funding to enable the addition of an extra floor,” said Rudy. “The fact that the builders were on site while designs were still being refined meant we knew that there was always the chance of a change in scope.”
“It is much better to plan for eventualities rather than react to the unknown,” he added. “Therefore, when we designed the foundations, we thought it was worth adding an additional 15% of concrete around the footings. The cost to do this is minimal in the grander scheme of things and certainly preferable in both cost and construction terms to having to strengthen the structure later on.”
This forward thinking meant that the team was able to incorporate the extra floor without any significant additional works or modifications, ensuring minimal impact to the budget and programme schedule.
The Boiler House: The Heart of the Hospital
Integral to the operations of Box Hill Hospital is the boiler house. If you shut it down, you shut the hospital. Core to the engineering solution was consideration of how to carry out works without affecting its operation.
The challenge was two-fold. Intelligent sequencing of the demolition and construction was one issue the team solved but the structural solution also had to work around the complexities of the actual boiler house structure itself. This meant designing a bespoke framing system to get around the existing ducts and pipework and footings that avoided critical underground services infrastructure, such as the high voltage cabling.
Bridging The Old With The New
The third key challenge the team successfully solved was the improvement works to a platform spanning two of the hospital’s existing buildings, which housed mechanical equipment essential to the smooth running of operations.
To further improve servicing, 80 tonnes of additional equipment was proposed for the existing platform. The bridge was not designed to cater for such a load. This meant strengthening the existing frame to support the extra weight, enabling the existing buildings to in turn carry the now heavier platform, while at the same time ensuring no operational disruptions. This was made all the more challenging as underneath the bridge was the maternity and at one end were a series of major operating theatres.
On completion, the expanded hospital – designed by Silver Thomas Hanley w/ Jackson Architecture -will accommodate 621 beds, an increase of more than 220 beds, and provide a larger emergency department that includes treatment, assessment and short stay beds; a dedicated precinct for women and children’s services; eleven new operating theatres; a new intensive care unit; expanded services for cardiology, cancer and renal patients; additional inpatient wards; and two floors of parking under the building with 225 patient car spaces.
Box Hill Hospital officially opened on the 12th of August, months ahead of schedule.
“The Meinhardt team has contributed substantially to the extremely successful hospital project at Box Hill. Their personnel have integrated completely into our “one team” approach and have participated in the problem-solving value-for-money environment that has been the basis for its success. This has not been an easy project and the team has had to be flexible in its approach particularly when there was a request to grow the building during its construction which required Meinhardt to pull out all the stops to find a solution that would not delay the project.”
Liz Maddison, Project Director Box Hill Hospital Redevelopment Project