We have been part of the construction of the new Dr. Pixley ka Isaka Seme Hospital since 2015. A 550-bed public hospital in Durban will alleviate the pressures of patient demand faced by the nearby Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Hospital. And at 30,000m², the new hospital will be the largest hospital in South Africa once complete.

As engineering consultants for Spoormaker and Partners, we advised on all mechanical water services and processes for the new hospital. This covered everything from rainwater harvesting to feed irrigation and toilet cisterns, to cold water storage and hospital drainage.

Our Director Business Unit, Industry and Buildings, Salani Sithole explains: “In South Africa, to achieve a more inclusive future both economically and socially, rapid progress is needed on a number of fronts. In order to achieve this, the Government has set out five distinct priorities, one of which is healthcare. Around 80% of South Africans cannot currently afford healthcare, but 30% of doctors try to treat them – this leads to increasing pressure on local hospitals as doctors try to treat both those who can afford their services; and those who cannot but have queued for hours in an attempt to seek help.”

Innovations enhance society

One example of our innovative solutions was the sustainable harvesting of heat from the chilled water system that is used to provide cool air in the hospital buildings. The heat absorbed by the chilled water system is utilised for heating water in the hospital, providing substantial energy savings. This same hot water is also used for the heating of incoming fresh air during winter months to keep the building warm.

With South Africa being a drought-prone country, another innovative solution we utilised was the re-use of natural rainwater, which placed less stress on water reserves. Rainwater is collected in a tank, filtered and saved before being used in systems around the hospital for the flushing of toilets and irrigation of internal planters in the building.

The hospital is not being built in isolation and forms an integral part of the Bridge City Development – a new economic hub which has been designed to link the communities of Ntuzuma, Inanda, Phoenix, and Kwamashu, providing residents with access to improved economic opportunities and healthcare facilities. The Bridge City Development comprises new office blocks, a shopping centre and a train station together with the new hospital.

Sithole also mentions that South Africans want a faster pace of development and social progress in order to overcome problems like these, and strides are being made towards a National Health Insurance, but infrastructure has a huge role to play in the future of healthcare in the country.

Encouraging collaboration via digital solutions

When we were brought on board for the project we were also tasked with Building Information Modelling (BIM) of architecture, electrical and drainage systems; and to act as the BIM Coordinator for all disciplines on the project. This was a trusted role that required collaboration and partnership with all of the various contractors, and it meant our team has been involved from inception, right through to construction monitoring.
“Being directly focused on such specific aspects of the hospital, while also coordinating all disciplines via our BIM Coordination role, allowed us to adopt an innovative and tailored approach to our working,” says Sithole.

Royal HaskoningDHV’s BIM approach utilises 3D modeling to virtually construct the project in order to coordinate services and eliminate clashes. Structural, electrical, mechanical, HVAC and HVAC medical services are all virtually constructed by being uploaded onto a centralised point and fused into one model that creates a Clash Detection Report. This report allows for clashes in services to be resolved before construction - saving clients both time and money as well as optimising the end result.

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Adam Wilmot

Project Manager Mechanical Building Services

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