TBH featured in AIPM April/May edition of Project Manager

1st October 2014 | By TBH

Case Study: A cure for all ills 

By Fiona Baker 

The massive building project of the Fiona Stanley Hospital presented a unique challenge: how to prepare for the 
installation of new medical equipment during construction. The solution lay in careful planning. 

Project: Fiona Stanley Hospital  
Project Client: WA Government; Department of Treasury  
Scope: This $2 billion hospital construction is the largest building infrastructure project ever undertaken by the WA 
Government.  
Completion: 2013 
Key Players: Project client: Department of Treasury Project client: Department of Health Construction (Managing 
Contractor): Brookfield Multiplex: Project planning: Tracey Brunstrom & Hammond 

Background Briefing:

Everyone will have some connection with a hospital; they might have had their life saved in one or seen a new life brought into the world.

Today’s modern hospital is also the site of major medical innovation and where groundbreaking treatments are administered. A public hospital should stand in place for many decades to come, delivering health care at the highest level. With all that in mind the key players in the design and construction of the 783-bed Fiona Stanley Hospital were briefed to turn 32 hectares in Perth’s southern suburbs into one of Australia’s most technologically advanced hospitals.

With the WA State Government and, therefore the people of WA as the client, it was important that budgets were met and the project was delivered on time. The first clod of soil was turned in September 2009 and the keys to the Fiona Stanley Hospital have now been handed over to the WA Government.

“Years of planning, design, procurement, construction and commissioning have come to fruition with the $2 billion Fiona Stanley Hospital being constructed on time and within budget,” says Elaine Brazil, senior planning consultant at Tracey Brunstrom & Hammond (TBH). “TBH is particularly happy that practical completion of the project was achieved more than two weeks ahead of the contract schedule.” 

Key Challenges:

Constructing a hospital of this size and stature is a long-running project, which posed a difficult challenge: planning for the integration of equipment without knowing precisely what that equipment would be. “In an ideal scenario, we would have known what medical and IT infrastructure would be chosen from the outset, “says Brazil. Another obvious challenge was ensuring the managing contractor completed works on time. “One of the main challenges was aligning the various principal subcontractor programs to the builders for the installation of principal supplied healthcare equipment prior to practical completion,” says Brazil.

TBH carried out regular reviews of the managing contractor’s program, comparing planned activities to actual progress on site and reporting on any issues or risks. “If procurement was behind schedule, TBH worked with the suppliers to ensure that mitigation strategies were put in place. For example, we would look at different shipping methods to ensure timely delivery of equipment,” Brazil says. “Because the contract program was well planned at the early stages, activities did not stray too far from the original plan.” 

Process:

Brazil describes the style of contact for this epic project as a “Managing Contractor Contract”, awarded in two phases starting in 2009. Stage one involved progressing the design and early civil works while stage two related to the remainder of the works. “This two-staged approach allowed the stage one works to progress while detailed planning for the project continued,” says Brazil. “Detailed planning during the early stages ensured that any potential risks and opportunities were identified early, and that the stage two contract program formed an accurate baseline for the duration of the project.”

With such an enormous project, tried and tested management procedures were applied. “In my mind, this was one of the key project success factors as there were no elaborate tools for project management, just the basics done well.”

The common-sense approach included: 

  • Having the state team based onsite with the managing contractor so any issues could be easily resolved with a proactive team approach. 
  • Good engagement and communication between all parties from the beginning. This was largely driven by the project director and managing contractor, who were on hand to supply immediate answers and resolve any issues. 
  • A strong focus on risk management at the hub of the works. Regular reporting of risks and issues took centre stage so management on both the client and managing contractor sides were always aware of the current risks. \
  • Change management procedures ensuring that the time and cost implications of variation proposals were fully evaluated and assessed prior to implementation of a change. “It could take up to a month to get a variation through but this ensured that the scope, time and cost implications were clear prior to proceeding.” Says Brazil. ​

Outcome:

Having a project of this size, status and importance delivered to the client on time and under budget is a boast-worthy feat. “Practical completion of the Fiona Stanley Hospital project was achieved on 6 December 2013, more than two weeks ahead of the contract date. This was a huge achievement for all parties involved in the project,” Brazil says. “TBH is extremely pleased with the outcome. There is a huge sense of pride having been involved in this flagship project since the start.

We played our part, but the success of the project must be attributed to the management framework and team effort by all involved.” The Fiona Stanley Hospital infrastructure project is an example of how detailed planning at the concept phases of the project can play an important role in the successful management and delivery of projects.

“Identification of a clear work breakdown structure and key milestones at the early stages meant that both the client and the managing contractor were aware of the commitments required to meet their deliverables as part of the overall project delivery. Detailed planning at the initial stages of the project identified key risk areas and dependencies, reducing the change of failure in the later stages.” says Brazil. 

Crunch the numbers

  • 80 kilometres of mechanical ductwork, 10,000 tonnes of steel and 100,00 cubic metres of concrete were used. 
  • The five buildings provide 150,000 square metres of occupiable space. 
  • The project spanned 10,700,00 man-hours, with more than 10,00 people inducted. 
  • The site includes 5 hectares of natural bushland, landscaped parks, internal gardens, courtyards and plazas.