Project managers sought

The Ministry of Health is hunting for project managers to drive the $650 million upgrade of the Christchurch and Burwood hospitals to give the medical redevelopment a running start.

The Christchurch hospital redevelopment is expected to be the largest single investment in public health facilities in New Zealand, with the cost of upgrading the city hospital expected to be more than $500m and Burwood about $150m.

Exactly which agency or group will be responsible for the project is yet to be decided by Cabinet.

The latest business plan for the development was written by the National Health Board (NHB), a business unit of the Ministry of Health, and is before Cabinet.

The Government's top ministers are expected to say how much taxpayers' money will be spent on the project early this year and to name which agency or group will be responsible for the development.

The NHB's planning work was overseen by the specially-formed Hospital Redevelopment Partnership Group, which includes private directors and representatives from Treasury, the Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB), the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) and the Ministry of Health.

The district health board referred inquiries about the project to the Ministry of Health.

The ministry has posted the project management jobs on the government electronic tenders website, calling for applications from companies that can provide a project director for each hospital redevelopment and a lead programme director who will liaise with the government agencies and working groups in charge of the upgrades.

The lead programme director must have managed a health sector construction project worth at least $80m, the tender document says.

The ministry hopes to sign up the project managers by mid-February so they can start planning the execution of the developments that Cabinet has approved alongside the responsible "client" agency or group, "avoiding delay", the tender document says.

The Christchurch city hospital redevelopment is earmarked to finish in mid to late-2018.

Burwood should be completed by late 2015.

The project does not include repairing earthquake-damaged CDHB facilities, which is estimated to cost $160m.

The project and programme directors will also liaise with the Christchurch City Council and Cera during the project.

The developments have not been brought under the auspices of Cera and the Christchurch Central Recovery Plan in the same way as the Convention Centre and the Metro Sports Facility.

A Cera spokesman said integration between the nearby health precinct and the city hospital was essential, so the planning groups for both projects will stay in close contact.

A master plan for the development of the health precinct, which includes the blocks between St Asaph and Tuam streets from Hagley Park to Montreal, is expected to be published in May.


2009: Canterbury District Health Board proposes a $400 million upgrade of Christchurch Hospital, including dedicated cancer and children's facilities and more operating theatres. A 2011 start date was floated.

2010: CDHB submits its proposal to Health Ministry.

February 2011: The earthquake puts the original upgrade plan, combined with a redevelopment of Burwood Hospital, on hold. The price tag of the two projects was about $1 billion.

September 2012: Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee announces government approval for the projects, and pledges to help fund them. The combined cost is now put at $600m. The Hospital Redevelopment Partnership Group is formed by the Government to oversee the project's planning.

January 2013: The Ministry of Health calls for project managers to direct the developments.