For the Care of our Kids

Behind the colourful walls of the Queensland Children’s Hospital are a range of mechanical services systems that maintain a world-class environment in which sick and injured children receive highly specialised care.

Located in South Brisbane, the Queensland Children’s Hospital (formerly known as Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital) is the major children’s hospital for families living in Queensland and northern New South Wales.

Designed around the needs of patients and their families, the hospital opened to the public in 2014.

As one of the largest and most advanced paediatric hospitals in Australia, it features a floor area in excess of 100,000m² across 16 levels.

As well as providing specialist healthcare to the most ill and injured children in the state, the hospital plays an important role in paediatric training and medical research. The Centre of Children’s Health Research, Queensland’s first fully integrated research facility focused on child and adolescent health research, is co-located at the hospital.

Consequently, the Queensland Children’s Hospital features a number of specialist mechanical services systems to support the delivery of quality healthcare, training and research. This includes a central energy plant that satisfies the site’s entire power, heating, cooling and steam requirements via a large trigeneration system featuring two gas-powered 2,400kWe generators.

Despite not being involved in the design or construction of the Queensland Children’s Hospital, A.G. Coombs Advisory has, from time to time, been engaged by the hospital’s in-house engineering team to provide technical support and advice on a range of matters.

Through this collaboration, the A.G. Coombs Group of companies has been able to demonstrate its capabilities and technical expertise in a number of areas. This eventually led to A.G. Coombs pursuing the hospital’s mechanical services maintenance contract with a proposal that challenged the business-as-usual delivery model of HVAC maintenance.

In the last quarter of 2018, A.G. Coombs was formally engaged to deliver the contract from the 1st January 2019 under the hospital’s Facility Manager, Medirest – part of Compass Group Australia.

Required to mobilise in a period of less than two months, A.G. Coombs deployed a small but experienced team of skilled technicians permanently at the hospital. It then set about completing an asset verification program that also allowed the team to become familiar with all existing assets and building layouts.

Additionally, A.G. Coombs has implemented an alternative methodology and frequency of mechanical services plant maintenance that aims to reduce the number of service and fault calls, and identify opportunities where operational expenditure can be reduced.

Given the critical nature of the hospital’s operations, the maintenance contract sets out a number of strict Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that need to be met.

This includes a requirement that 12-hourly checks of the steam boiler plant be conducted. To meet this demand, A.G. Coombs has introduced morning/afternoon shifts for its on-site technician team and a permanent 12 hour/3 day shift incorporating Friday, Saturday & Sunday. While unusual in the HVAC industry, this shiftwork approach has created opportunities for after-hours maintenance to be carried out in areas that are otherwise difficult to access during normal (peak) hospital hours.

“In the few months since A.G. Coombs has joined our team, the quality and expertise of their technicians have been evident – as has their ability to perform their work in a manner that puts hospital patients, families and staff first.”

Clinical spaces such as clean rooms, infection control rooms, operating theatres, intensive care unit and specialist wards for the treatment of burns and bone marrow transplants also require a planned approach to maintenance in order to adhere to hospital processes. A complex fire matrix must also be negotiated carefully.

Building on the company’s experience at other critical healthcare facilities around Australia – including the Royal Children’s Hospitals in Melbourne – the A.G. Coombs team is working with Medirest to add value to the mechanical services maintenance contract.

Through the improved performance and maintenance of the mechanical services systems serving the Queensland Children’s Hospital, A.G. Coombs is playing an important role in delivering a world-class hospital environment for the benefit of patients.

“The Queensland Children’s Hospital is one of the state’s most important healthcare assets,” said Michael Caldwell, Hard FM Operations Manager for Medirest.

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