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Planning for the new hospital is on schedule - for the moment - companies are being hired, land is being bought and designs are starting to take shape.
The Ministry of Health will soon ask for proposals from demolition contractors for the large and complex demolition project.
Ministry DHB performance support and infrastructure deputy director-general Michelle Arrowsmith said while the work would not start until early next year, a contractor had to be hired so the detailed planning required for the large and complex demolition project could start.
As well as the demolition strategy, work had started on concept designs for the first stages of the build.
The concept design for the smaller ambulatory services centre - to be built in St Andrew St where the Wilson Parking building is located - would be completed in September, Ms Arrowsmith said.
Housing the outpatient facilities and day surgery, the building is expected to be joined by a bridge to a larger building on the former Cadbury site.
A concept design for the larger acute services building was expected to be completed by November, she said.
The concept design phase would confirm the location and approximate size of each building and what services they would eventually house.
Interviewing for the appointment of the architect had also started.
The preliminary design, which was expected to take up to six months, would then lead into the developed design phase, Ms Arrowsmith said.
Minister of Health David Clark announced last year the hospital would be built in two stages, with the outpatient and day surgery building due to be finished more than three years earlier than anticipated.
The smaller building would be opened in two stages, in November 2023 and November 2024.
Negotiations for the remaining parcels of land continued and staff were working through the consent process, Ms Arrowsmith said.
The Cumberland St site (which includes the University of Otago, Warehouse Stationery, Lighting Direct and Anytime Fitness as tenants) was bought last month.
The ministry had already bought the Cadbury block for the new hospital, and confirmed in December it had bought land at 174 Castle St.
Southern Partnership Group (SPG) chairman Pete Hodgson said the project was on track and in some areas slightly ahead of schedule.
"With any project like this there is no shortage of things that can go wrong.
"Nothing has gone wrong to date."
Aspects of planning included ongoing meetings with hospital clinicians on the design of the hospital.
A clinical leadership group, made up of Southern DHB medical, nursing and allied health staff, also reported to the SPG, which then got a sense of whether designs were acceptable or needed to be changed.
Community groups and individuals were also involved, providing feedback on the design from their various perspectives.
Mr Hodgson said new people and companies were joining the project as it continued.
Most were national or international firms.
They included architects from Brisbane, Wellington and London, who then engaged others for the likes of peer reviews.
Hydrology and flood assessment would be done by Stantec New Zealand, which had also been appointed to the traffic engineering role.
Mr Hodgson said Stantec was also close to finishing a report on whether the city would have a district energy scheme.
"If we think about heating the hospital, the question is: what else can you heat while you're at it?"
There was such a scheme at the moment where the hospital's coal-fired heating system had heated the former Cadbury's factory, the hospital and half the University of Otago.