ANGAU Hospital Redevelopment

ANGAU Hospital Redevelopment
ANGAU Hospital Redevelopment

Earthquake proofing a structure isn’t something Australian fabricators and steel manufacturers have to take into consideration very often. A new hospital development in Papua New Guinea however, where earthquakes are more prevalent, proved just one of the challenges for QLD based Watkins Steel.


Watkins Steel worked alongside the external design team who were responsible for the project to ensure all joints and the complete structure met all earthquake standard requirements. As earthquakes pose a real risk in Papua New Guinea building and construction processes must meet stringent standards.

A long-time customer of InfraBuild Steel Centre, Watkins Steel successfully tendered for the supply of structural steel to the Australian New Guinea Administrative Unit (ANGAU) Hospital in Lae, PNG in 2018. Watkins Steel worked with their customer, CPB Contractors, who in turn were approached by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to redevelop the historic hospital. CPB Contractors have been working on the site in Lae since April 2018 with the project due for completion mid-2021.

The ANGAU hospital redevelopment will provide improved critical health services for Lae, one of the largest cities in Papua New Guinea, situated in the Morobe Province. The hospital will benefit the people of the Momase region more broadly. The ANGAU Hospital is named after the Australian army unit which formed in 1942 during World War II to oversee the civil administration of the Territory of Papua and the mandated Territory of New Guinea. Built in 1964, the hospital has significant historic ties with Australia.


Watkins Steel have processed and fabricated around 400 tons of steel, including 100T of purlins and 300T of other various steel members. InfraBuild Steel Centre have supplied a large percentage of the product Watkins Steel have used in the project. The quality and compliance of the product InfraBuild Steel Centre supply as well as Steel Centre’s ability to supply product on time, to schedule has been one of the key benefits.


“As an overseas project there were many challenges around ensuring the steel was able to be shipped to Papua New Guinea. Issues included the logistics and shape of the steel, and the quarantine requirements regarding the type of wood used to ship the steel,” a representative of Watkins Steel explained.

There were also logistical challenges around meeting the scheduled plan for steel to be onsite. The main structural works were officially delivered 1 January 2020 and additional requested work was completed by 15 October 2020.

Approximately 20 unique buildings have been supplied during Watkins Steels’ two-year involvement in the project (mid-2018 until early 2020). CPB Contractors started work on site in April 2018, with official completion due in mid-2021.


A full scope of project works includes: 

A new central energy plant and infrastructure, back-of-house services including kitchen and laundry, a tuberculosis and pediatric inpatient ward, a birthing ward, a children’s outpatient department, a special care nursery, acute services (Intensive Care Unit, Urgent Care Centre, Emergency Department and theatres) and support services (pathology, imaging and central sterilisation).


The PNG Minister for National Planning and Monitoring Hon Richard Maru MP said during a recent visit to inspect the works, “I am confident this will make a real difference to health outcomes for communities throughout the region.  This investment reflects our commitment to pursue key investments in the region that spur growth and development.”

The ANGAU redevelopment project was jointly delivered as part of the partnership between the Governments of Papua New Guinea and Australia.

Photo credit for all images: Watkins Steel, CPB Contractors 

Article published on Thursday, 03 December 2020

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