Vital signs of progress at hospital site

Contractors work to install a large section of prefabricated steelwork on the new Dunedin...
Contractors work to install a large section of prefabricated steelwork on the new Dunedin hospital outpatient building site yesterday. Photo: Gerard O'Brien
After years of waiting, construction of the outpatient building of Dunedin’s new hospital can now be seen above ground, as the first structural steel column is in place.

It was the first of 1600 units of fabricated steel which would create the main structural support system of the building, Te Whatu Ora Health New Zealand delivery of infrastructure and investment group director Monique Fouwler said.

The units would be delivered in 16 consignments, as steelwork was completed over the next year, along with the concrete flooring system that would be done in conjunction with it.

"Towards the end of that timeframe, other trades will start their work, such as fire protective painting and installing the facade windows," she said.

Local Advisory Group chairman Pete Hodgson said it was a joy to see Dunedin’s skyline permanently changed by the country’s "newest and best hospital".

"Progress will now appear to be quick.

"We’ve waited long enough, and wondered what’s been going on behind the scenes, and the answer to that is ‘a lot’.

"Now we can see that progress and that’s a wonderful thing," Mr Hodgson said.

Ms Fouwler said there were two beam types — primary beams which were typically 700mm deep and formed the structural frame, and secondary beams, which supported general floor loads in between the primary beams, and were often 400mm deep.

"The width of the beams is about 8.5m and their weight varies from 4tonnes for the deeper beams to 1.5tonnes for the shallower ones — which make them light work for ‘Stretch’, the bright yellow Liebherr tracked crawler crane already onsite, which can lift up to 300 tonnes," she said.

Dunedin Mayor Jules Radich said he had been told by those involved in the project that they expected to see "steel go up in the sky" this month, and to see that happen was "a great sign of progress".