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Northern Beaches Hospital nears completion

9 April 2018

Key Information

The first hospital to be built on a greenfield site in Sydney in 20 years will substantially improve the healthcare services available to Northern Beaches residents.   

One of six nominees for this year’s Australian Construction Achievement Award, the Northern Beaches Hospital in Frenchs Forests will offer a new network of healthcare for Sydney’s Northern Beaches community when it opens late in 2018.

The opening of the hospital, together with extensive rezoning of the Frenchs Forest area, will help turn the once-sleepy suburb into a strategic Northern Beaches hub. 

Private healthcare operator Healthscope was contracted by the New South Wales state government to deliver the nine-storey hospital, with CPB Contractors enlisted to oversee design and construction. Included in the scope of work was construction of the 70,000sqm hospital building, together with a 40,000sqm carpark offering 1400 car spaces. In addition, CPB Contractors was given responsibility for the construction of campus-wide roads and support infrastructure.

The entire project is valued at approximately $1 billion, which includes $400 million in road upgrades the state government is enacting around the hospital site.

The launch of the 488-bed hospital will coincide with the closure of Manly Hospital and provide local residents with increased health services, better infrastructure and more complex care. Mona Vale Hospital will remain open and there will be $100 million worth of investment in the construction of three new community health centres in Mona Vale, Seaforth and Brookvale.

With construction now complete, the hospital is currently in the process of being fitted out in time for its launch.

On time and on schedule

Close cooperation between construction firm and parties in the steel supply chain was a feature of the Northern Beaches Hospital build and a large factor in the project meeting its construction timelines.

Paul Berrell, InfraBuild Construction Solutions (formerly LIBERTY OneSteel Reinforcing) Sales Manager, said regular planning and coordination sessions with CPB Contractors assisted with working through obstacles and enabled a proactive approach to overcoming resourcing issues.

InfraBuild Construction Solutions worked with CPB Contractors to supply 2500 tonnes of reinforcing bar and mesh

“We worked with CPB Contractors to supply approximately 2500 tonnes reinforcing steel bar and mesh for approximately 15 months,” Paul said. “That was for both the hospital and carpark, so we supplied to the two projects on site simultaneously.”

Mark Mittiga, Senior Project Engineer with CPB Contractors, has significant experience with hospital builds and said they offer technical challenges not usually found in commercial or residential buildings.

“We had many intricate slabs to construct, because hospitals tend to be complicated structures and continually evolve even during construction,” Mark says. “The complexity is driven by stringent loading and vibration criteria and allowing for future selection of major medical imaging equipment. This made the scheduling of reinforcing steel a challenging task.

“Anyone managing a concrete structure will stress the importance of having an exceptional reinforcement scheduler. In my opinion, InfraBuild Construction Solutions had a great scheduling team and this allowed the hospital to adhere to program.”

Effective scheduling helped keep the project to its construction timeline

Though challenges associated with the hospital build were few, and those that did arise were overcome through regular dialogue, there were inevitable difficulties associated with delivery of steel materials from InfraBuild Construction Solutions’ Villawood site using the Sydney road network. In addition, there were challenges associated with access to the Frenchs Forest site via a major intersection.

What delays were experienced en route were mitigated by the use of an innovative ‘swinglift’ crane system that allowed for easy removal of the supplied steel bar and mesh once onsite. Steel product was transported in a bespoke stillage, which the swinglift system was then able to pick up from the truck’s flatbed and deliver in place.

Infrastructure upgrades

The NSW state government recognised that roads infrastructure surrounding the new hospital would need to be upgraded and engaged Ferrovial York Joint Venture (FYJV) to carry out the work.

The Northern Beaches Hospital Connectivity and Network Enhancement Project, once complete, will improve traffic flow to the Northern Beaches through the Frenchs Forest area and will provide better access to the hospital site and surrounds for pedestrians and cyclists.

Construction is well underway along Warringah Road and Forest Way, and two new bridges have been opened over Warringah Road for use by foot and bike traffic. The first bridge, at Forest Way, includes stairs and lifts on both sides, as well as cyclist parking facilities. The second, at Hilmer Street, provides safe access for students of The Forest High School.  

With the hospital currently on track to begin providing health services from October 2018, Healthscope says the Northern Beaches area will be very well serviced by the new facilities, which will offer 200 beds more than are rrently available at Manly and Mona Vale hospitals.

According to Healthscope, “This will be a very large hospital upon opening and it will be able to care for the community long into the future”.

Images courtesy of Healthscope