Hornsby Ku-Ring-Gai Hospital has been providing healthcare services to the community of Hornsby, a suburb to the north west of Sydney, since 1933.
Over the years, the facility has grown into a major metropolitan hospital and a teaching hospital for the University of Sydney, with around 300,000 people within its catchment zone.
The needs of the local community are changing, reflecting the national trend towards an ageing population with a higher incidence of multiple, chronic health problems. In just over 20 years, over 5 million Australians will be aged 70 or over, while around 4.6 million people will have circulatory system diseases.
Reimagining Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Hospital is part of the Australian government’s response towards meeting these future challenges. In 2010, an AUS$120 million redevelopment project was announced for Hornsby Ku-ring-gai; the first of a two-stage plan to modernise the entire facility.
Stage 1 would centre on creating a new, state-of-the-art home for Surgical, Theatres, Anaesthetic and Recovery (STAR) services. The aim would be to create a high-performance facility that offered a positive hospital experience for patients, staff and visitors.
As the largest service consultant on the project team, our role was to take the lead as services coordinator in addition to providing a range of building engineering services. We needed to ensure the project would be delivered to exacting, future ready standards within a tight construction programme, while minimising disruption to hospital patients and staff.
Managing Complex Challenges
Our key challenge was to manage the complexities of designing a clinical building that included no fewer than seven operating theatres, peri-operative spaces, three inpatient units, a new sterilising services department and a pathology unit.
In addition to being flexible spaces, each operating theatre needed to feature fully integrated ICT equipment, allowing theatre staff to communicate remotely with clinical experts. This connectivity would allow Hornsby to benefit from an international pool of medical talent.
Our team used the latest Building Information Modelling (BIM) software to create detailed, fail-safe designs for the STAR facility’s building services, helping to identity challenging areas and exchange important data with the design team. This enabled us to work within the strict timescale of the scheme.
Our BIM expertise also allowed us to develop energy performance and fire engineering models to create the most efficient designs possible, while saving the design team time and effort. For example, we were able to test the design of the building against Australian energy efficiency legislation and achieve a 9% reduction. Using our fire engineering expertise, we were also able to prove the viability of a naturally ventilated stair solution in lieu of a code compliant pressurisation system. This not only saved on capital cost, but eliminated one of the major plant from the annual maintenance schedule; the first time this had been done for NSW Health.
Learning Today to Improve Tomorrow’s Performance
We continue to monitor the day-to-day running of the STAR building and are in the process of evaluating the results so that we can further improve the facility’s future performance. Stage 2 of the hospital’s redevelopment is now underway and will see the existing Emergency Department upgraded and expanded in a $200 million scheme.