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First phase of Royal Columbian Hospital redevelopment completed

Jean Sorensen
First phase of Royal Columbian Hospital redevelopment completed
FRASER HEALTH AUTHORITY - Bird Design-Build Construction has completed the first phase of the Royal Columbian Hospital redevelopment project in New Westminster, B.C.

General contractor Bird Design-Build Construction Inc. has delivered on the first phase of the Royal Columbian Hospital (RCH) redevelopment, as it completed the 75-bed Mental Health and Substance Use Wellness Centre, built to achieve a LEED Gold green building standard.  The new 36,500 square metre facility located in New Westminster, B.C., replaces the hospital’s aging 60-year-old Sherbrooke Centre and moves the $1.35 billion modernization plan further towards Phase Two. 

Two additional phases of the major revitalization of B.C.’s oldest hospital are on the planning board and according to the Fraser Health Authority, will increase the RCH’s capacity by 50 per cent. Phase Two and Three are expected to cost $1.1 billion.  The new construction will incorporate B.C. wood where possible and will also be built to a LEED Gold green standard.    

Phase Two, which is designated to begin construction in 2020 and finish in 2024, will consist of a 350-bed acute care tower, new emergency department, more operating rooms, a new main entrance, underground parking and a new permanent rooftop heliport.  Phase Two is posted on Partnerships BC’s website as a design-build project and B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix has issued a statement saying the second phase will not be a private public partnership.   

Ontario’s Crossey Engineering Ltd., according to its website, is providing mechanical and electrical engineering consulting services for Phase Two and Three of the RCH redevelopment.

Phase Three, expected to begin construction in 2023 to 2026. It will see renovations of the existing health care centre care include a new neonatal intensive care unit, pediatrics facilities, laboratory, pharmacy, diagnostic services, food services, and Columbia Tower’s four-bedroom units will be converted to private rooms.  Phase three will also see more three storeys connecting ways between the various buildings.

The newly centre combines a number of new features for patient care but also houses an energy centre and 400-vehicle underground parking structure plus an IT centre.  

Glenco Electrical, which handled the $28 million electrical design and construction of the multi-year, Phase One, said on its website the work on the energy centre included a fit-out of equipment to accommodate the new Centre but also the RCH campus.

“There was also the construction of a campus IT network which included the installation of a fiber optic ring, which  required a complete fit-out to connect the communications hub to all buildings,” Glenco’s website said.

“This project included the installation of two 3.25-megawatt high voltage generators, and also included 25 shutdowns within one month, to cut over the existing hospital to the new electrical installation.”

Modern Niagara Vancouver’s team provided the full range of mechanical and control services during Wellness Centre’s construction. The company replaced the hospital’s aged utilities with new energy-efficient central heating, and cooling generation and distribution. “We also led Building Information Modeling (BIM) coordination of all mechanical and electrical services in Royal Columbian’s energy centre and mental health building, ensuring smooth installation,” Modern Niagara’s website said.

Modern Niagara’s design-assist services ensured hospital services could continue throughout the construction process and to help minimize future disruptions, the company installed some Phase Two rooftop cooling equipment as part of its first phase work.

The BC Health Ministry has not released any information on which companies have been shortlisted for Phase Two or when construction might start in 2020.

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