A hospital building for the future

Date: 13/12/2017

It would be hard to miss the large hole at the corner of Wattletree Road and Isabella Street, which has appeared at the site of the former medical centre 1 at Cabrini Malvern.

Demolition works are well advanced in preparation for construction of the new Gandel Wing set to open in 2019. It’s an exciting time but one not without its challenges. The team has risen to some trying conditions, as they worked on demolition of the below-ground structure. “They certainly used a lot more concrete in the 1970s than we do now,” said Project Manager Will Gullifer of Kane Constructions. “The recent downpour of rain has made it equally challenging.”

Despite the conditions, work is on schedule with demolition of the old structure due for completion by mid-December. There is just one final ground slab and some footings to be removed at the former basement 2 level. Then it will be onto to construction of the new hospital building beginning in January 2018.

Recent milestones

It has certainly been a busy time – over the past three months, the team has achieved the following milestones:

  • Removal of access ramps to the Isabella Street carpark and redirection of vehicle traffic to the Coonil Crescent entrance, which has been upgraded with new technology to signals and entry/egress lanes for traffic, resulting in less traffic on Isabella Street
  • Construction of a booster and sprinkler control valve room and installation of signage directing the Metropolitan Fire Brigade to this facility in the case of a fire emergency at the hospital
  • Demolition of the former medical centre 1 building and part of the adjacent medical centre 2 building, using hydraulic pulveriser attachments on heavy equipment, in order to minimise noise from these works
  • Establishment of our radiation oncology service together with GenesisCare, the swiftest timeframe of any of its centres
  • Upgrading of our CT equipment, which was a major undertaking
  • Installation of retention piling around the perimeter of this site
  • Demolition of the future site of the PET scanner suite (where hospital administration was once located on the ground floor)
Current works

As part of the site retention works, the builders have been drilling ground anchors through the retention piles and into the earth behind the retention system. This enables them to continue to excavate down safely and without any risk geological instability. This can be noisy but important work.

At the same time, the project team has been working hard to complete the final services diversion works to enable us to fully demarcate the construction site from the hospital. This has been collaborative and detailed work, which has progressed smoothly.

Recently the builders completed concrete pouring of the new stair 6, located behind the booster room on Isabella Street. This will become the new emergency egress stairs for the hospital, once the existing egress stairs (located under the builders’ gantry) has been removed. The next stage is to remobilise the piling rig to complete piling works for basement levels 2 and 3 adjacent to the hospital (where the old Isabella Street entrance once was) but 8 m below street level.

What is to come next?

The Tower crane will be erected in mid-March 2018 subject to weather conditions. The process will take up three days and required full closure of Isabella Street between Wattletree Road and Pine Grove. Our neighbours will be fully informed about this disruption as timing becomes clearer. At this time, it is expected that the ground floor will have been constructed. Around Easter time in 2018, we expect to have completed further development of our radiation oncology services with installation of a PET scanner, which will complete all medical imaging modalities at Cabrini. By September, the whole building will be standing. From September until December, the building facade will be complete reading for fitout in early 2019 and commissioning by mid-year.

“We understand the impact of the works on our staff, doctors, patients, visitors and neighbours and have done everything possible to minimise inconvenience and noise,” said Executive Director of Diagnostics, Major Projects and Infrastructure Geoff Fazkerley. “We will continue to keep all of our stakeholders updated about the progress of works and are grateful for the forbearance and support we have received as we develop the Gandel Wing.”

Christmas-New Year closure

The team will take a well-earned break over Christmas and New Year, with the project closing from 23 December and 9 January. Works will begin again on 10 January 2018. During this period, Cabrini security staff will patrol the perimeter of the building site daily.

Definitions for building terms

Piling: a building technique that involves use of a large piling rig, which drills into the earth, pumping concrete and installing steel reinforcement into the holes. In the construction of Cabrini’s Gandel Wing, the piles are spaced two metres apart and once installed, provide for safe excavation of the earth. The holes are further reinforced with concrete being sprayed in between the piles.

Ground anchoring: is when ground anchors are drilled through the retention piles and into the earth behind the retention system, permitting builders to continue to excavate down into the earth without any risk geological instability.

Footings: are an important part of foundation construction. These are the construction that transfers the load from the building to the foundation. They are typically made of concrete with reinforcement that is poured into an excavated trench, and stop the building shifting from its intended position.