Westmead Hospital Redevelopment
In 2014, Altus Group was engaged by Health Infrastructure NSW to provide Cost Management services for the planning phases of the Westmead Hospital Redevelopment. Extensive master planning options were prepared, and Altus Group was then engaged through the planning and delivery stages for all works including the brand new Central Acute Services Building (CASB), which was procured through Early Contractor Involvement, with Multiplex selected as the contractor for the project. Currently, the Westmead Hospital Redevelopment has a project value of over $1 billion, making it one of the largest health projects in the state. The impressive multi-stage Redevelopment comprises over 15 stages of works with numerous contractors. The first clinical area to be redeveloped was the expansion of the existing Emergency Short Stay Unit, which commenced in September 2015, and the Healthcare for Older People Earlier unit, to help meet the increasing demand for services.
Photo courtesy of Multiplex
The site area for the Redevelopment covers approximately 32 hectares. Working on such an immense operational Hospital site, as well as dealing with numerous contractors at various locations throughout the precinct, was a challenge. Providing staff continuity and having staff based onsite allowed us to keep in touch with all aspects of the project and ultimately help control the project costs and budget, while also allowing Altus to build strong relationships with the design team, contractors and client, which created a great working environment and team atmosphere.
Staging and Future-Proofing
Staging and future-proofing for the proposed and future developments in the precinct was a significant consideration and challenge at the outset. As part of the early works package, an extensive service trench network was constructed on the site to ensure that the proposed developments could be serviced appropriately. These trench networks have been designed with additional redundant conduits to cater for future developments. This came at additional expense to the project but avoided abortive works in the long run. Another example of forward-thinking is the road widening works on Hawkesbury Road for Parramatta Light Rail. Health Infrastructure completed these works on behalf of Transport for NSW, which included relocating utilities and parking, modifying and installing traffic lights, footpaths, street lighting and landscaping to enable construction and operation of the Parramatta Light Rail. The retaining walls between the boundary of Hawkesbury Road and the Westmead Adult Hospital were a key feature of the design. They were designed and constructed in a way that would allow a contractor to excavate and build a basement underneath the adjoining public footpaths without impacting them.
Maintaining connectivity between the Westmead Adult Hospital and Sydney Children’s Hospital was critical to Hospital operations, however, the proposed location of the new CASB would break that link. The solution was to provide a temporary linkway between the two buildings. This suspended linkway comprised nine 12-metre shipping containers extending more than 108 metres in length and was constructed through the middle of the live site. The CASB was designed and constructed around the temporary linkway, which was then removed at the opportune time. With the CASB now complete, staff, patients and the public can move freely from Westmead Adult Hospital to the Sydney Children’s Hospital.
Photo courtesy of Multiplex
Altus Group was directly involved in the establishment of the overall project budget for the Westmead Hospital Redevelopment, which has been maintained over the course of the project’s detailed planning and delivery. The sheer size of the project and the expanse of the site required highly accurate cost estimating, contingency and escalation cost allocation, along with reliable, complex cost reporting.
Being the single Cost Manager across the entire project enabled effective coordination and management of many concurrent packages of work across the operational Westmead Hospital site. It also provided a great learning opportunity for the health team, whose role involved managing various stakeholders throughout the multi-stage Redevelopment, which is one of the first Health Infrastructure jobs to have a dedicated onsite project office. This has further expanded Altus Group’s health sector knowledge and experience in best practice and efficient processes for communication. As a result of our comprehensive role, Altus Group has gathered extensive health sector cost data, which has been captured for future benchmarking. Major construction of the CASB was finished three months ahead of schedule. The handover of the building for early usage will help manage any COVID-19 surges in Western Sydney and provide much needed services for the community.
The project has been well received by key stakeholders who appreciate the depth of the scope of services and the challenges of delivering multiple projects within the operational Westmead Hospital precinct. Graeme Loy, WSLHD Chief Executive explains: “It reflects thousands of hours of work from so many people over several years – including our staff and the local community who provided input into the design, as well as the dedication of the project consultants and builders.” The Westmead Hospital Redevelopment is the largest infrastructure project the Altus Group health team has had the pleasure of being involved in.
I have considered it a privilege to be involved in this once in a lifetime project and take pride in knowing that it will continue to deliver high-quality healthcare to patients for decades to come.
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