Quake-proofing plan for hospital

HEATHER SIMPSON
Last updated 08:48 30/06/2014

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Construction works will be carried out to bolster the earthquake resilience of a Wairau Hospital wing, but it won't happen until next year.

A seismic assessment has been completed for the Arthur Wicks building and Nelson Marlborough District Health Board has approved a conceptual design.

The wing houses human resources and nuclear medicine, part of the radiology department.

Board chief executive Chris Fleming said the building had been under scrutiny since the Christchurch earthquakes.

Surplus cash meant the board could move on the works in Wairau and Nelson hospitals, Fleming said.

Works would be based around longitudinal and latitudinal strengthening of the building.

The design would improve the building's performance and ensure it would remain standing in a severe earthquake, Fleming said.

The project would now go out to tender. The board said it could not make the costs public until the contract was confirmed.

Detailed design specifications would be completed this year and work on site was due to begin in 2015.

Fleming said he did not anticipate there would be major disruption to the emergency department or high dependency unit.

Some services and staff on the top floor of the building, believed to be human resources, and those in the basement of the building, understood to be nuclear medicine, may need to find temporary accommodation during the strengthening work.

Nuclear medicine involves the injection of patients with radioactive substances to show the extent of a disease in the body.

The engineering work would give the board an opportunity to reconfigure spaces to better meet their needs, Fleming said.

During a 6.6-magnitude earthquake last August the Arthur Wicks building was evacuated and the basement was closed. Engineers subsequently gave the building the all-clear.

Detailed seismic assessment work, and initial conceptual strengthening design work for the Percy Brunette and George Manson buildings in Nelson, was due to be completed today.

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- The Marlborough Express

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