Canterbury’s Burwood Hospital is a brand new facility which incorporates state-of-the-art medical technology to deliver the best outcomes for all patients who visit the centre. But, while perhaps less glamourous, just as important to the successful operation of Burwood Hospital is its plumbing and reticulation systems – and these are just as cutting-edge as the gear which powers the theatres. Incorporating aquatherm piping systems for potable domestic hot and cold, and chilled, water systems, the building’s plumbing is designed to deliver high performance and low maintenance for the full life of the hospital.
According to Paul Eagleton, South Island manager of local importer and distributor aquatherm NZ Ltd, the piping systems selected for the hospital are reflective of the overall focus on future-proofing. “This is a building built for the new millennium. It incorporates every advantage the construction industry has to offer and that extends to the piping systems.”
Burwood Hospital has long been recognised as one of New Zealand’s centres of excellence for rehabilitation and elective orthopaedic surgery. As of June 2016, it became much more as site clearance began for the creation of state-of-the-art facilities linked to the ‘old’ Burwood Hospital.
Innovative thinking and design has shaped these new facilities to deliver better, more efficient healthcare now and in years to come. These new buildings house over 32 thousand square metres of purpose-built facilities on three floors and provide a total of 230 new inpatient beds.
Included are new ward blocks for medical, rehabilitation and mental health services for older people. There are also new outpatient areas, including radiology and pharmacy areas. Each 24 bed ward has three communal patient lounge areas plus a whanau room where patients can spend time with family members; the entire new build has beautifully landscaped courtyards throughout, designed to let in as much natural light as possible and help keep people connected to the outdoors.
So significant is the Burwood Hospital project that Dirk Rosenberg, CEO of aquatherm GmbH, personally visited the site as a further demonstration of the company’s commitment to quality implementations.
Unique properties for a lasting advantage
PP-R is polypropylene-random, a chemically inert thermoplastic. Its advantages over the metal pipes used since antiquity are all directly linked to its base form: unlike metals, PP-R does not react with minerals or contaminants in the water. It doesn’t break down (although it is fully recyclable) and delivers an extraordinarily long life. Because it is by nature flexible, it delivers a further advantage which has never been more relevant in Canterbury: it is earthquake resistant. What’s more the mineral-rich water in Canterbury lends itself more to the use of plastics rather than metallic pipe.
Where metal pipes will scale and potentially clog over time, there is no such issue with aquatherm’s products; where metal conducts heat, PP-R is a natural insulator, preserving the heat (or chill) of the liquid it transports and reducing the necessity for external cladding.
Installers love aquatherm
Tim Browne, manager at mechanical and hydraulic services company David Browne Contractors which is responsible for the implementation of some 17 000 metres of aquatherm on site, provides insight: “We had proven the success of aquatherm on many other recent projects in Christchurch and around the South Island. It delivers a real advantage with its ‘cost versus time’ ratio.”
He says the time saved installing PP-R over other products makes it a preferred material to work with. “It’s light, easy to handle, quick to install and clean to use. Little wonder my installation teams enjoy working with this product.”
Browne explains how Fusiolen PP-R is worked. “The pipework is joined by fusion welding, where both ends of the pipe and fittings are heated to a set temperature, pushed together and held for a short time, allowing the product to fuse and bond. This method is far less stressful and takes much less time than other piped options.”
Importantly, he notes that the risk of leaks is reduced if the task is completed correctly.
“With projects like these, the ability to save time and effort while achieving an excellent outcome is like gold. We’ve used aquatherm successfully in New Zealand for 18 years now, and we’ve never looked back.”
Eagleton says the growing number of qualified installers and successful projects completed with aquatherm piping systems attest to the suitability of this world-proven product for the local market.
“Importantly, we don’t sell pipes and fittings, we sell the system. That means we make sure the product is accurately specified from the available range. Crucially, it means training and support for installers so they deploy it in accordance with applicable standards to get the job right. And finally, it means complete backing from aquatherm NZ from specification through to final pressure test. That provides the assurance to building owners – like the Canterbury DHB with Burwood Hospital – that their piping systems will stand the test of time.”
Pictured above: Dirk Rosenberg, CEO aquatherm GmbH, and Warwick Muirhead, David Browne Contractors Burwood team leader, conducting a site inspection prior to completion.
Pictured: The installation team installing high level pipe runs of reclaimed water (lilac pipe) and cold and hot aquatherm green pipe for potable water.
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