Precasting WA’s Largest Ever Infrastructure Development

Fiona Stanley Hospital Project

Controversy has swirled around Perth’s $2 billion-dollar Fiona Stanley Hospital, a major development project currently under construction in the Perth southern suburb of Murdoch.

Apart from the debate and contradictory claims regarding budget and timeline blowouts, it is important to remember the enormity of developing a significant infrastructure piece – WA’s largest ever – that will take up the equivalent space of four city blocks.

The hospital, which is due to be completed by 2014, will include 783 patient beds across a 6,300-room development space that will measure approximately 150,000 square metres. The development will encompass not one, but five main buildings, set amongst five hectares of natural bushland and other such landscaped spaces, with environmental contextualisaion a key element of the project.

With such a vast and extensive range of construction and design goals to be achieved given the magnitude of the project, developers Brookfield Multiplex engaged Delta Corporation as precast specialists, with precast taking on an extensive role throughout the development process.

The first phase construction goals included a number of challenging stages requiring a significant number of precast elements to the main hospital, pathology/education centre, central plant building, two multi-storey car parks and a service tunnel. That included the development of 944 custom architectural wall panels to cover a space of 7,151 square metres of the main building’s podium exterior, internal courtyards and corridor.

The use of architectural concrete mixes coupled with high quality finishes has allowed the architect to express the design intent, with precast pieces featuring off-form, sandblasted and textured surfaces. The results clearly demonstrate the advantages precast has to offer especially in terms of quality and the overall project aesthetics.

Fiona Stanley Hospital Project construction

Aside from the high quality architectural precast concrete facades evident in the majority of the projects buildings, an innovative approach to the major storm water detention, filtration and harvesting system for the project stands as a testament to precast’s positive attributes.

Developed by Humes the storm water system has been established by connecting individual modules into a specific configuration in order to encompass both detention and filtration systems. The simple and flexible design allows for unobstructed above ground land use.

In a move to maximise the potential of the flexible design, the largest of the detention systems included a slightly different configuration, with a large retaining wall and detention basin replaced by a storm water system. Not only is the storm water system inclusion cost comparable to the retaining wall, but the design of the system, which includes a grated side opening, allowing its 3,708 cubic metre water capacity to overflow into nearby bushland areas.

In order to remain on time and on budget, this particular part of the development was delivered in 30 units per day to the work site, with each piece of the civil drainage works installed in 10 minutes and each system dug in, ready to be backfilled in 10 days.

The scale of this project meant that interruptions, delays and extended work schedules would severely impinge on the overall project deadline. While these delays become inevitable as the development moves towards completion, they have at least been limited due to the incorporation of precast elements, and the overall efficiencies that these bring.

By Sarah Bachman, Executive Officer, National Precast Concrete Association Australia
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