The creation of a place of healing for patients, visitors and staff, and a commitment to environmental sustainability has been at the heart of the new Royal Adelaide Hospital (nRAH) development, with CSR Gyprock selected to assist the landmark project in meeting its vision for next-generation healthcare in Australia.
The world-class facility in South Australia is the state's single largest infrastructure project at 10 times the size of the new South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) and has been designed to admit more than 80,000 patients per year.
Central to the design of the hospital is the patients' healing journey, with each room offering natural light, privacy and minimal disturbances, as well as easy access to the green spaces on balconies, courtyards and sky gardens spread across the nine levels of the 10-storey complex. Based on a concept of flexibility, patient rooms, technical suites, administrative and commercial spaces have been designed to adapt and grow as medical technology and patient needs change.
Together with its innovative patient-focused design philosophy, the nRAH will be the state's greenest hospital with extensive sustainable design initiatives implemented across three focus areas: water conservation, energy efficiency and indoor environmental quality. It is the latter where the hospital has set itself apart from other sustainable design projects, with indoor environmental quality met through high levels of natural light, acoustic design to minimise noise and disturbance in patient rooms, environmentally friendly finishes, such as low volatile organic compound paints, and sky gardens, which will provide enclosed, naturally ventilated spaces for winter sun. In implementing these initiatives, the hospital aims to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 50 per cent compared with other equivalent hospitals.
The vision to create a state-of-the-art facility that prioritises patient care and reduces its environmental footprint aligns with CSR Gyprock's objectives of delivering high performance products that improve living conditions. Gyprock EC08 Complete, a premium, multi-function plasterboard, was selected for its properties in meeting the highest standards across a broad range of performance requirements for specialised construction projects and Green Star buildings. The low VOC, multi-function plasterboard has the highest level of specification in the Gyprock range with superior performance for mould, impact, fire, acoustic and moisture resistance – important qualities for facilities that place a high priority on occupant health and comfort.
Gyprock EC08 Complete was the first plasterboard in the market to be engineered for mould resistance, subsequently meeting the high performance standards specified by SA Health. It achieved the best possible score in the ASTM G-21 test for mould growth and is classified as non-carcinogenic, and is approved by the National Asthma Council Australia's Sensitive Choice program as a better choice for asthma and allergy sufferers. EC08 Complete has been designed to withstand damage in high traffic areas, providing the highest levels of hard body impact resistance than any other Gyprock plasterboard. This performance standard is especially important in facilities where there is a risk of direct impact on wall surfaces, such as hospital corridors.
The hospital's requirements for minimal noise disturbance, were met through the acoustic properties of EC08 Complete, with the plasterboard manufactured to a mass of 12.4kg/m2 (13mm board) and 14.8kg/m2 (16mm board). Fire hazard properties have also been carefully considered, with EC08 Complete satisfying the requirements of the Average Specific Extinction Area standard and achieves its Group 1 rating – the best available.
Due to the large scale of the project and the size of the facility – the same length as 28 Adelaide metro buses, CSR Gyprock specialists, including technical support from DesignLINK, as well as Gyprock's operations and logistics teams, worked closely with the local sales team, plastering contractor Brighton and builder HYLC to negotiate value engineering solutions for the high building requirements of the project.
Innovative thinking by the DesignLINK team and the differences in the way the plasterboard was delivered were evident of CSR Gyprock's commitment to the project's environmental initiatives. Consideration of the most cost-effective and sustainable practices in delivering approximately 600,000 square metres of plasterboard, predominantly 13mm and 16mm Gyprock EC08 Complete products, for the wall and ceiling linings was a high priority. In addition, the team developed a different board installation layout to minimise waste, with plasterboard measuring 3m x 1.2m delivered for rooms with a floor-to-ceiling height of 4.2m, and a customised service offer for coordinating and managing the collection of all plasterboard cut-offs for recycling.
"To minimise waste and maximise recycling, we looked at every component of the job to ensure we were utilising every bit of plasterboard delivered to site," says Angus Kell, Gyprock National Technical Development Manager. "Rather than simply considering the efficiencies we can draw from the cross-section in the wall, we went a step further and looked at all of the wall's connections to save material. One way we did this was to maximise use of the paper edges of the board, which not only minimises waste but provides the added benefit that paper edges are more resilient to bacteria, which is what you want in a hospital facility."
The hospital featured over 40km of internal wall partitioning, made up of CSR Gyprock systems. Together with the plasterboard, Gyprock supplied premium compounds to the project, including its market leading Base Coats for superior strength joints, and Ultra-Top, a premium lightweight topping compound.
The construction of the nRAH is the largest healthcare project CSR Gyprock has been involved in to date. With the collaboration of the CSR teams, contractor Brighton Australia and builder HYLC, it was a project where Gyprock's technical leadership, sales support and product excellence combined to positively contribute to a landmark South Australian infrastructure project which will provide excellence in healthcare in Australia.
"Every detail of this project was considered," says Angus. "For me, it was really one of those projects where the full capability of CSR was utilised and it was impressive to see and be a part of."