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January 16, 2013

Controlling humidity at Gold Coast University Hospital

Filed under: Buildings — Tags: , — Tom Murphy @ 3:52 am

Air Change shares how Gold Coast University Hospital’s HVAC system was designed to cater for the high humidity of the hospital’s subtropical location.

Detailed planning and the design stage process for the Gold Coast University Hospital (GCUH) started in 2005, with construction taking place later in 2008. In 2009, members of the Engineering Joint Venture (EJV) Mechanical Services Design team for GCUH started to source options for the hospital’s HVAC requirements.
Hospitals and health facilities have specific HVAC requirements due to the nature of the facility, and a system that could precondition a high volume of outside air was required for a large portion of the project.

In HVAC Design for Healthcare Facilities, A Bhatia from the Continuing Education and Development Engineering Inc notes that these include:

  • the need to restrict air movement in and between the various departments (no cross-air movement)
  • specific requirements for ventilation and filtration to dilute and reduce contamination in the form of odour, airborne microorganisms and viruses, and hazardous chemical and radioactive substances – ventilation effectiveness is very important to maintain appropriate indoor air quality
  • different temperature and humidity requirements for various areas and the accurate control of environmental conditions, and
  • design sophistication to minimise the risk of the transmission of airborne pathogens and to preserve a sterile and healing environment for patients and staff.

According to Bhatia, these requirements demand high quantities of outside air, along with significant treatment of this ventilation air, including cooling, dehumidifying, reheating, humidifying and filtration.

The subtropical location of GCUH, which is near the coast of southeast Queensland, meant that humidity control for the high volume of supplied outside air was of critical importance.
To overcome this issue of high humidity, chilled water dehumidification units were selected. These units accurately control both temperature and humidity through inbuilt sensible plate heat exchangers, which provide the pre-cool, dehumidification and reheating of the incoming outside air. These functions are controlled via an integrated proprietary control system that integrates with the site’s building control management system.
A total of 13 chilled water dehumidification units and 13 energy recovery ventilators, ranging from 4000 to 7000 litres per second, were installed at the end of 2011. The dehumidification units also assist with building pressurisation and assist in preventing the ingress of moisture into the building.

The GCUH design team initially looked to the Green Building Council of Australia’s (GBCA’s) Health Facilities Design Tool to establish sustainable design principles. As the design tool does not make allowances for the subtropical climate in which the GCUH exists, however, achieving a high energy efficiency score was difficult. The high latent load created by the climatic conditions needed to be addressed directly to improve the facility’s overall energy efficiency.
The dehumidification units allow the HVAC system to efficiently control this latent load. The main source of energy efficiency attributed to the dehumidification units is that they provide pre-cool and reheating via the air-to-air counter flow plate heat exchanger only using fan energy; therefore, reducing the amount of energy consumed to condition the high air volume. EJV found that the cost of achieving a GBCA four-star Green Star was reduced by a factor of four and it became within reach of the budget.

The Gold Coast University Hospital (GCUH) was the largest single hospital infrastructure project in construction within Australia at the time of writing. The project is being undertaken by Queensland Health and is worth $1.76 billion, according to Aurecon.
Lend Lease notes that, once completed, the latest expansion to Queensland’s health services will cover an area over 170,000 square metres and be over nine storeys high, with 2300 on-site workers having completed over eight million man hours of work. This addition to the Queensland health institution is set to replace the existing Gold Coast Hospital, which was built in the 1970s, and will include 750 new beds with specialist cardiac services, neonatal intensive care, neuroscience, cancer radiotherapy, seven new operating theatres and a trauma response area, including a helicopter retrieval service and rooftop helipad.
GCUH is located adjacent to Griffith University South Campus, and will also serve as a teaching and learning facility. The Gold Coast Campus already boasts state-of-the-art health facilities, including the $36 million Griffith Centre for Medicine and Oral Health. Environmentally sustainable products were integrated throughout the project to minimise its impact. These included energy efficient lighting, sustainable waste management and the use of recycled materials. Queensland Health’s GCUH is set for completion in December 2012.

September 25, 2012

Will Perth Beat Melbourne to An Airport Rail Link?

Filed under: Civil — Tags: , , , — Tom Murphy @ 1:24 am

perth airport

Transport infrastructure in Perth appears to have moved to the top of the state government’s priorities.

Just weeks after the announcement of updated light rail plans, the government has released details for a rail line connecting commuters and travellers to and from Perth Airport.

As is the case with Melbourne Airport, this type of infrastructure has been deemed critical in supporting passenger growth as the number of travellers continues to rise.

“Perth Airport will continue to experience substantial passenger growth and it is critical transport infrastructure is planned to ensure adequate services are in place to cater for the projected demand,” said Minister for Transport Troy Buswell. “The State Government has demonstrated its commitment to the development of the airport precinct and associated infrastructure with the $1 billion Gateway WA project which encompasses a number of road network improvements to facilitate effective movement of people and freight.”

Buswell added that it is extremely important that commuters be given options in finding ways to get to and from the airport.

Troy Buswell

The Minister added that cabinet “has approved the reservation of the surface route on land under control of the State and has endorsed ongoing discussions between the Public Transport Authority and stakeholders to ensure the route is protected.”

The preferred route would see the rail line run down the middle of the Tonkin Highway east of the Bayswater train station. It would tunnel under the major road and the airport’s runways towards a proposed consolidated international and domestic airport terminal.

Options eastwards from the airport, linking the suburbs of Forrestfield and High Wycombe to and from the airport, were also being considered.

Buswell said the rail line would not only provide public transport to Perth Airport but also improve access to the eastern foothills. The project has been identified in the Public Transport Network Plan as a stage two project, which would see it built sometime between 2021 and 2031.

The Government has emphasised that it is keen to understand the project’s full scope and cost to determine where it sits in relation to other infrastructure investment priorities before making a full commitment

July 17, 2012

$300 million community infrastructure plan for Docklands

Planning Minister Matthew Guy and Lord Mayor Robert Doyle today unveiled a plan for $300 million in community infrastructure projects in Docklands.

This follows the Planning Minister’s announcement yesterday that a new cafe, edible garden and outdoor space would be located along Harbour Esplanade. To be known as the Glass House, this temporary activation space seeks to provide the intimacy of a backyard while residents, workers and visitors to Docklands enjoy Melbourne’s premiere waterfront destination.

Alongside these projects Lord Mayor Robert Doyle said that the City of Melbourne would kick-start the restoration of the historic Alma Doepel, with a proposal for the ship to be docked at Victoria Harbour, the centrepiece in the waterfront heritage precinct.

A community boating hub, oval and sporting facilities, recreational swimming pool, library and community centre, exhibition and performance spaces, running and walking tracks, and a place of worship are some of the headline projects to be delivered in Docklands over coming years as part of the Docklands Community and Place Plan (DCPP)

Mr Guy said today’s announcement was a good example of the strong, long-term partnerships between state, local government and the private sector that are required to make urban renewal projects a success.

“This plan showcases projects that Places Victoria and the City of Melbourne, together with developers, private and public sectors, are committed to delivering for Docklands,”

“Although only 50 per cent has been developed to date, Docklands is already an economic hub, having attracted more than $8.5 billion of private investment,” Mr Guy said.

“Docklands continues to make a significant contribution to the Victorian economy

“The last year alone has seen more than $2.4 billion worth of commercial and residential development under construction across 16 projects, including more than 1,500 dwellings” Mr Guy said.

Lord Mayor Robert Doyle said the release of DCPP is the culmination of more than 18 months of community consultation and reflects the needs of Docklands’ evolving community.

“Coupled with the recent announcement that the City of Melbourne will be the responsible planning authority for developments less than 25,000 square metres in Docklands, this package demonstrates a transition from a development stage to one focused on the community.

“We’ve listened to thousands of residents, workers, visitors and experts, to ensure future development in Docklands meets the needs of its people, now and into the future.

“A great example of this is the new Docklands community garden. With a fire to gather around on a cold day, a range of garden beds and fruit trees, the Docklands garden provides a great new meeting place for locals and visitors.” Cr Doyle said.

For a full list of the community infrastructure initiatives to be delivered as part of the DCPP please visit: www.docklands.com

March 30, 2012

$100 billion Infrastructure Backlog Unacceptable

The $100 billion infrastructure backlog is impinging on Melbourne’s productivity says Committee for Melbourne acting chief executive officer Andrea Gaffney. In order to deal with the backlog, it has been suggested that an independent, non-government body be set up, the news of which comes only days after the announcement of the state government’s reinvestment in Victoria’s public transport system.

“We believe there is a significant infrastructure backlog in Melbourne to the tune of $100 billion and that price tag has increased over the last decade” says Gaffney.

She goes on to state that the backlog of infrastructure developments not only impedes on the smooth running of the state, but could actually effect its high liveability standard.

The push for infrastructure efficiency is in light of Melbourne’s drastic population growth, which is only expected to rise. Gaffney believes that an independent body would aid in the efficiency of getting these infrastructure projects out in order to effect long term goals.

“We believe the development of a plan should be looking out to the next 50 years. It should be long-term aspirational and not just necessarily looking out to the next 10 years or thereabouts” Gaffney says.

Backing these sentiments is executive board member for the Committee for Melbourne. He is pushing for the body to improve long-term planning by the government, rather than simply appeasing voters in the now.

“What we need is an all-party commitment to a long-term commitment for the city, so it’s a vision that sustains itself beyond the electoral cycle,” says Fricke, “we’ve got a lot of short-term thinking; we’d like to see some long-term thinking”.

A meeting will be commence shortly, by which a proposal for the independent infrastructure body may be presented.

March 29, 2012

Industry Timetable Could Fix Skills Shortage | Victoria

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Tom Murphy @ 11:54 pm

The Victorian government is being pushed to outline a timetable for billion dollar state projects in order to further stop the increasing state skills shortage.

The hope is that by in doing so, the government would entice skilled industry workers to stay local instead of following the buck over to Western Australia or Queensland.

Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VECCI) Chief Executive Mark Stone is in favour of using the state government’s second budget, which will be released in May, to promote long-term infrastructure plans as a way of instilling confidence in the skills-short state.

At the centre of the discussions is the multi-billion dollar East West Link project. With the estimated timeframe for the 18km road standing at close to ten years, the project will generate a large number of industry jobs on a long-term basis.

According to the VECCI, the suggested timetable would not only aid in keeping skilled contractors from finding work out of state, it would also offer greater investment confidence for major industry companies, who are also heading west.

VECCI chief executive Mark Stone cited construction, mining and engineering company John Holland, who are sending employees to the mines for engineering projects without the knowledge of the local job opportunities, as an example of the type of situation Victoria could face more and more often.

“They are flying them in and out of Western Australia at the moment to keep the skills within the company and not lose them to someone else or somewhere else,” he says.

Stone explains that greater knowledge of state infrastructure opportunities and their timeframes would allow for larger industry players to stay local.

“Companies like that need to have some idea what the prospects in Victoria are going to be over what timeframe, to then have confidence in keeping those staff on the books and not letting them go to a mining project in the Pilbara or somewhere like that,” he says.

Clearly any changes will have strong implications on the state budget, but those changes are something that the VECCI urge the premier to consider nonetheless.