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November 24, 2023

A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity

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What one local company will do in 80,000 hours on the new hospital build.

The saying goes that many of us will work about 80,000 hours in our career (or more) – 40 years x 50 weeks x 40 hours.   But for one local company, Aotea Electric Southern, that’s the number of hours they’re estimating it will take to complete all the electrical and security requirements for the new Outpatient Building which will open in 2026.


It’s all go onsite right now with structural steel columns being lifted into place – work that will continue over the next twelve months.  We can expect to see much activity on site as the building progresses with more steel frames, concrete, and services being installed in the 15,000 sqm building.


For Aotea Electric Southern’s general manager Warren Taylor, this isn’t just any project.  The new hospital is being built for generations to come and for him its deeply personal.  He spent a large part of his career working for the Southern District Health Board and in his time oversaw a lot of infrastructure and redevelopment projects at the current hospital. He remembers the work done in the Emergency Department and the total refit of children’s health and pediatrics as some of his most rewarding. 


”Aotea Electric has been working at Dunedin hospital for over 25 years, so our team is used to working in a hospital environment. We know how to work around clinicians and patients with minimal disruption. This time of course, it’s a new build and will be empty until it opens, but our extensive experience allows us to deliver health facilities with the end user in mind, to the highest standard.


This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for the team and everyone is keen to play their part.


We’ll have between 24 -30 people working in the building at any one time, led by an experienced dedicated project management team, and we will utilise the wider Aotea network of electrical staff throughout the country, as well as sourcing expertise from overseas if necessary. We’re continuously working with training providers to get new electrical apprentices skilled and on the job, and it’s a great career for anyone interested in the construction industry,” says Warren.


Te Whatu Ora Programme Director, Tony Lloyd, says that while the building might often be referred to as the ‘little’ building in comparison to the Inpatient Building, it has its own scale and importance. 


“Cabling is one of the essential services for the building which will have 2 x 2000 kilowatt of transformers to give it resilience and reliability.


There’s 290 kilometers of cabling going into the Outpatient Building.  To give you an idea of how much that is, that’s roughly half the length of the high voltage direct-current (HVDC) transmission link that integrates power supply between New Zealand’s North and South islands (which is 610 km long).


To put it another way, if you consider the average house has about 1 km of cabling in it, it’s the equivalent of just under half the number of houses in Dunedin’s Halfway Bush (based on the last census).


The Outpatient Building is an Importance Level 3 (IL3) building which means it is designed for a greater level of earthquake shaking than ordinary commercial structures, and a high level of resilience and reliability is critical as it needs to be operational immediately after an earthquake or any disastrous event,” says Tony. 

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