Northern Beaches Hospital in Frenchs Forest, NSW is one of the largest projects currently being undertaken by Fredon. It is a design and construction contract for a 6.4 megawatt chilled water system. CPB, a subsidiary of Cimic (previously Leightons) is the head contractor.

The design and coordination was carried out in-house over a 9 month period prior to a start on site in 2016. Currently Fredon is reaching the end of construction work, and active on all floors of the 9 storey, 488 bed hospital, managing an average subcontractor workforce of 110 men daily.  A 7 month commissioning process is scheduled to commence in June, and the hospital is to be operational from early 2018.

Construction Manager Paul O’Reilly reports that the project is running smoothly and on target to this point. The team know hospitals, having worked previously on Nepean, and Blacktown hospitals, and most recently Royal North Shore Hospital (RNSH).  At circa 56,000 m2, Northern Beaches is a little over half the size of the RNSH @ 98,000m2

A diverse project

Despite the smaller size of this project, it still presents its own unique challenges, such as the diversity of the facilities.  It includes a specialised birthing suite, 14 operating theatres, pandemic ward, pharmacy and cleanroom grade labs, creating a range of air and ventilation demands.

The HVAC installation on the operating level, for example, is dense. There are approximately 30 tonnes of sheet metal ducting in that zone alone. It takes detailed planning to ensure that is all manufactured and delivered in time, and that the right people are available to work on it.  Since the mechanical systems dominate the available spaces, on a job like this Fredon are heavily involved in coordinating the other trades.

NSW first Public/Private Partnership (PPP) hospital

Northern Beaches is NSW’s first PPP hospital, and will probably serve as a model for future developments.  The client is private operator, Healthscope, and the Department of Health will be a contracted user of the facility, offering public services from it.  This has a number of implications for Fredon’s work.

The need to demonstrate the viability of the PPP process places a noticeably greater pressure to stay on budget and meet the relatively short timeframe of 12 months for construction.  Even more than usual, a lot rides on meticulous planning and having as few errors as possible.

On a practical level, the system has to be designed for the operating costs to be split between public and private.  There is an EMS (energy management system) on top of the usual BMS (building management system). The EMS monitors and tags the energy usage so that the public and private costs of operations can be apportioned in exact detail. The need for billing separation goes deep into the design and execution of the mechanical services.

The advantage of Fredon being contracted to do both design and construction really comes to the fore in a complex and high pressure project like this. The team say that the budget and timeframe would be almost unachievable without the ability to have a close interaction between engineering and construction early in the planning stages, and as the project proceeds.