Shipping container walkway keeps hospital up and running during construction

A 100m long shipping container walkway has been built at Sydney’s Westmead Hospital to limit disruption and help keep patients and visitors safe during a $750 million construction project.

The linkway – made out of nine 40-foot Royal Wolf containers supported 5m above the ground by a temporary steel structure – allows people to travel safely between Westmead’s adult and children’s hospitals while the new Central Acute Services building is constructed.

The new building will house an emergency department and state-of-the-art operating theatres which are due to be finished in 2020.

Paul Todhunter, site engineer for contractor Jansen Yuncken, says Royal Wolf’s container hoardings allow everyday activity to continue around the site and limit the disruption caused by the construction.

“It is a very sensitive area, with some very sick people and their family and friends that we have to consider, so we’re very weary of keeping noise and general disturbances to an absolute minimum and the containers help us do this.

“While the linkway is temporary, it still has to follow strict hospital guidelines and meet energy efficiency guidelines under the Building Code and the containers were modified so the finishes and dimensions met these specifications.”

He says the strong and robust nature of containers – which come with a 10kPa rated protection level – make them ideal for helping to ensure people have safe passage way when moving around the hospital.

“It’s a very large site and it will be a busy place for the next two and half years so for us the safety of patients, visitors and staff is the biggest priority.”

With many building sites limited in terms of space, container hoardings and buildings are being increasingly used in the construction industry because they are able to be stacked on top of each other and relocated to meet a site’s changing layout.

Royal Wolf Chief Executive, Neil Littlewood, says container hoardings are one of the easiest and most practical solutions for managing safety on and around a construction site.

“They are the perfect solution for keeping both the public and workers safe around these sites. The Westmead project is one of the most unique and innovative installations Royal Wolf has been involved in. It highlights the diversity of what containers can be used for and how they can be modified to meet a specific need.”

“Containers are an incredibly strong and solid structure, but they’re also very adaptable so there really is no limit to what you can make out of them.

“The beauty of Royal Wolf is that it can provide everything from simple and reliable storage solutions through to modified and bespoke containers like the Westmead walkway. We can modify them to whatever a customer wants.”