Work to start on forensic building

2017-05-23 17:03
The old Groote Schuur hospital site where the new forensic pathology institute is expected to be built.

The old Groote Schuur hospital site where the new forensic pathology institute is expected to be built. (Nomzamo Yuku)

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After five years of delays, the construction of a forensic pathology institute at the old building of Groote Schuur Hospital in Observatory is expected to start before the end of this month.

The Western Cape department of public works has revealed that the contract worth R200m was appointed in April.

According to department spokesperson Byron la Hoe they are waiting for contractual formalities and the handover is expected to take place on Friday when the construction will start.

He explains that the project was tendered for construction in December. After a lengthy adjudication process it was awarded to Aveng Grinaker LTA.

Reports have it that the construction was previously expected to begin in 2013 but there have been undisclosed delays.

Asked about the delays in this project and whether a sufficient budget has been secured to make it a success in an expected time frame, La Hoe says he has not been involved since the beginning and “cannot comment on the project delays. The provincial health department has approved the required funding for this project and the project is programmed to be completed within 23 months”.

“The project was broken up into two parts, where the initial part was the partial demolition of the existing old engineering building. The facade of the building had to be retained due to heritage requirements. This first part dealt with getting the site to a stage where the main demolition is completed and ready for the building contractor to commence work. The demolition project commenced in March last year and was completed in November,” he says.

According to reports the institute is going to replace the Salt River mortuary, which is currently serving as the best forensic pathology institute in the country but struggles with a lack of space and resources.

Due to the high capacity, the existing Salt River mortuary is no longer performing at the expected standard and the new facility would help improve that.

La Hoe says the facility will be the first of its kind, and will provide for the integration of the provincial forensic pathology service with the academic training provided by UCT and the national health laboratory service.

He further explains that Groote Schuur Hospital’s facility management and engineering were invited to project meetings in order to inform them of all developments regarding the project.

According to public works expectations the construction would not directly affect the functioning of the hospital in any way.
Groote Schuur spokesperson Alaric Jacobs says: “This is a public works project and we have nothing to do with it. We will not be affected at all with the development.”

During the planning stage the following were considered:
1. Access to the forensic pathology institute has been carefully discussed and all measures will be taken to avoid traffic issues to the hospital during the construction period.
2. The proposed crane position is not within the helipad flight path and all necessary regulations regarding proper demarcation of the crane will be attended to.
3. The contractor will have a clearly defined site and site establishment area, which will not interfere with any of the activities at Groote Schuur Hospital.
4. Site security will be done by the contractor.
5. Water and electricity supply for the construction is separated from the hospital’s supply.
6. All known existing underground services have been identified and are not currently in use.

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