The person leading Royal Hobart Hospital’s redevelopment has told a parliamentary inquiry of the unique challenges befalling the project.
Project director Ben Moloney on Friday told a Legislative Council sub-committee, examining the state’s health acute services, decisions were constrained by the hospital’s city-based location and limited footprint.
The hearing comes a day after former premier, and outgoing parliamentarian, Lara Giddings expressed regret that a new hospital for Hobart was not built on a greenfield site with the state tight for cash after dealing with the Global Financial Crisis.
Mr Moloney said the construction team had been challenged through dealing with buildings which had been refurbished multiple times over years.
He said the outcome relied on assumptions of conditions, and given the hospital was still in operation, workers only had last-minute access to certain areas.
“When we venture into areas, we have to make sure we deal with hazardous materials and other latent defects which are difficult to see until you get into that space,” Mr Moloney said.
A major part of the redevelopment is construction of a new building, known as K-Block, which will increase the hospital’s bed capacity by 250 beds and include 33 inpatient mental health beds.
This 30-per-cent boost will take overall bed numbers to about 690.
Construction is expected to be completed by mid-2019.
Murchison Independent MLC Ruth Forrest said the committee had previously heard evidence the new building’s mental health unit had a design that was neither contemporary or best practice.
Mr Moloney said the design had been worked on and adapted for some time.
He said the team was challenged by working within a central city site with a restricted footprint.
“When others talk about best practice, they probably don’t have the same constraints that we have,” Mr Moloney said.
“I believe we have achieved the optimal design layout in that footprint.”