New hospital wards set a high standard

At the 2015 Master Builders Award ceremony, Rods Construction won the “Excellence in Construction” award in the health care facilities category for the construction of an extension to the victorian Church of Scotland hospital. The new TB and paediatric wards showed off magnificently crafted stretcher bond brickwork.

The lives of the Tugela Ferry community in the Msinga region of KwaZulu-Natal have been vastly improved following the construction of the two TB and paediatric wards at COSH earlier in 2015. The district, which is a largely rural area with a high unemployment rate, is largely dependent on the hospital for a variety of health needs.

Originally constructed in the 1870s, the hospital has had to expand as the nearby community has grown, meeting the health demands of the ever-growing local population. The latest expansion – a TB ward and paediatric ward  – began in mid-2012 with the finishing touches completed at the start of the year. Construction was done by Rods Construction with design by Coote Clarkson Architects.

The two new wards are in addition to the hospital’s 19 general wards, four isolation wards, four treatment rooms, four nurse’s stations, three mothers’ dormitories as well as the general kitchens, bathrooms, cleaning rooms, storage rooms and pharmaceutical stores that make up the hospital.

Artistic use of a brick Stretcher Bond pattern

Quantity surveyor, Gregory Doorsamy of Rods Construction, said the double-storey wards, which have a 3 000m2 internal floor area, were constructed using 120 000 of Corobrik’s red Firelight satin FBX face brick, 330 000 NFP common bricks and 8 000 double cant bricks in a stretcher bond pattern.

“The brick was chosen for its natural look which made it easier for the building to blend into the surroundings,” explained Doorsamy. “It is also very low maintenance, and colourfast, requiring no further plastering or repainting which will keeps costs down into the future.”

Construction was made challenging by the rock embedded in the ground which was discovered during excavation. The gradient of the land also forced excavations to go much deeper than expected to reach levelled ground for foundations.”

Doorsamy said that, although design was restricted to blend in with the existing structure, there was still room for some artistic inclusions.

“We built a great access ramp, which is about 30m long and 6m wide, with some circular face brickwork.”

Low maintenance, long life materials reduce future costs

Commenting on the choice of face brick for the hospital, Musa Shangase, Corobik Commercial Director, reiterated Doorsamy’s observations on their cost effectiveness in life cycle terms.

“Construction in face brick means immediately negating future maintenance costs from the first brick,” explained Shangase. “Funds saved can then go towards further expansion to meet the growing population’s needs.”

Brick construction brings so many benefits to both the public purse and communities they serve. Structural with aesthetic integrity, robustness, durability, thermal comfort, this reducing heating and cooling requirements, no VOCs at levels to impinge on air quality are some key performance attributes that set clay brick infrastructure apart from lightweight ABTs and help define ‘right and proper’.

Excellence in Construction Award

On Friday 23rd October at the Master builders award ceremony and Rods construction won the “Excellence in Construction” award in the health care facilities category for the construction of the Church of Scotland hospital facilities.

“The superior thermal performance of our masonry products, derived from their inherent thermal mass, ensures ward temperatures remain cooler during the hotter months and vice versa. This is important to the wellbeing of those recovering in hospitals and for keeping hospital staff productive in demanding situations. And then there is bricks natural sound insulation properties that also help ensure noise is kept to a minimum, another factor for aiding recovery.”

“This is a quality addition to the Church of Scotland hospital facilities that we are thankful to have been a part”

PICTURE CREDIT: Rodney Lutchman, Director of Rods Construction

CAPTION: A new TB and Paediatric ward were built at Church of Scotland Hospital in Tugela Ferry using Corobrik’s cost-effective firelight satin FBX face brick.

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