Health hub built for quake resilience

Health hub built for quake resilience
The Hutt Valley Health Hub will incorporate a general practice with specialist services, pharmacy and dental practice, a physiotherapy practice, child care centre and a café.

Designed to withstand a one-in-2500 year earthquake, construction of the $35 million Hutt Valley Health Hub commenced in January this year and will take twelve months to complete.
The project is being delivered by Medispace , a New Zealand company specialising in the development of community based integrated healthcare facilities.
Using a laminated timber construction method, the building will have an Importance Level 4 earth-quake resilience rating, which under the Building Act means it must be fully operational after a major seismic event.
Medispace Founder and CEO Roy Simmons says that the Hutt Valley Health Hub is the first primary community health building that has been built to that very high standard.
A rocking self-centering construction enables the building to ‘rock and roll’ in a big event without suffering damage or causing harm to people.
In the event of a major earthquake in the Wellington/Hutt Valley region, the hub could potentially function as a disaster response centre.
“It’s ground breaking technology and in the top 2% of buildings in New Zealand that use that construction methodology – there are very few buildings in New Zealand that have that level of earthquake resilience,” explains Roy.
A key driver of the project was the need to re-house an existing general practice in the area.
The new facility will cater for in excess of 20,000 patients.
Located between the Hutt Hospital and the Boulcott Hospital and Specialist Centre, the new Hutt Valley Health hub is being constructed on the site of the former Naenae Bowling club.

Health hub built for quake resilience
In the event of a major earthquake in the Wellington/Hutt Valley region, the hub could potentially function as a disaster response centre.

 
Covering a total floor area of 3600sqm over two levels, the Health Hub will incorporate a general practice with specialist services, pharmacy and dental practice, a physiotherapy practice, child care centre and a café.
Roy says that while Medispace acts like a developer in projects like the Hutt Valley Health Hub, it is not funding the project.
“We bring an investor in to fund and own the project and our role is the facilitator putting the project together; doing all the prospecting and planning.
“We also do the architectural design both inside and out, along with the fit-out to ensure there is an integrated solution.
“We want the patient to walk in the door and have a logical journey through the Hub—same lighting, same carpets, same signage, same look and feel.”
Reflecting on the project challenges to date Roy says the ground conditions were very difficult to deal with because of the liquefaction risk, requiring hundreds of 6metre x 800mm stone columns to be inserted into the ground for stabalisation.
Established in 2010, Medispace’s focus is putting integrated care facilities into the communities, enabling people to readily access the care they need.
“A person can visit the centre and get all their initial healthcare needs within that one building.
“That facility would then refer to the hospital if a person has an acute need like cancer, major emergency or requires long-term in-hospital care.”
While a General Practice will typically be part of the facility, a ‘model of care’ is designed around the community’s patient demographic and the location of the facility.
“If that’s in a low socioeconomic group that has a high Maori/Pacifica demographic there will be whole lot of social services that they need which impacts their health. There may be lifestyle and wellness, diabetes and nutrition care and it will be set up in a village/whanau methodology rather than a family methodology better suited to higher socioeconomic largely white demographic/location.”
Medispace’s wide in-house skill sets include project management, quantity surveying, contracts management, architectural, interior design and leasing.
Passionate about the role Medispace serves in healthcare, Roy leads from the front, ensuring people are at the heart of all of Medispace’s decision making.
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