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‘State-of-the-pipe’ for brand new Burwood Hospital wing

TN1/02.11.16 Canterbury’s Burwood Hospital is a brand new facility which incorporates state-of-the-art medical technology to deliver the best outcomes for all patients who visit the centre. But, while perhaps less glamourous, just as important to the successful operation of Burwood Hospital is its plumbing and reticulation systems – and these are just as cutting-edge as the gear which powers the theatres. Incorporating aquatherm piping systems for potable domestic hot and cold, and chilled, water systems, the building’s plumbing is designed to deliver high performance and low maintenance for the full life of the hospital. 

According to Paul Eagleton, South Island manager of local importer and distributor aquatherm NZ, the piping systems selected for the hospital are reflective of the overall focus on future-proofing. “This is a building built for the new millennium. It incorporates every advantage the construction industry has to offer and that extends to the piping systems.”

Burwood Hospital has long been recognised as one of New Zealand‘s centres of excellence for rehabilitation and elective orthopaedic surgery. As of June 2016, it became much more as site clearance began for the creation of state-of-the-art facilities linked to the ‚old‘ Burwood Hospital. Innovative thinking and design has shaped these new facilities to deliver better, more efficient healthcare now and in years to come. These new buildings house over 32 thousand square metres of purpose-built facilities on three floors and provide a total of 230 new inpatient beds. Included are new ward blocks for medical, rehabilitation and mental health services for older people. There are also new outpatient areas, including radiology and pharmacy areas. Each 24 bed ward has three communal patient lounge areas plus a whanau room where patients can spend time with family members; the entire new build has beautifully landscaped courtyards throughout, designed to let in as much natural light as possible and help keep people connected to the outdoors.

Unique properties for a lasting advantage

Continuing, Eagleton says engineering consultancy Beca had no hesitation in specifying aquatherm for this prestigious project. That’s because there are distinct advantages associated with the unique construction of these piping systems. “aquatherm is a German-engineered product which is made from a proprietary raw material called Fusiolen PP-R,” he explains.

PP-R is polypropylene-random, a chemically inert thermoplastic. Its advantages over the metal pipes used since antiquity are all directly linked to its base form: unlike metals, PP-R does not react with minerals or contaminants in the water. It doesn’t break down (although it is fully recyclable) and delivers an extraordinarily long life. Because it is by nature flexible, it delivers a further advantage which has never been more relevant in Canterbury: it is earthquake resistant. “What’s more,” Eagleton points out, “The mineral-rich water in Canterbury lends itself more to the use of plastics rather than metallic pipe.” Where metal pipes will scale and potentially clog over time, there is no such issue with aquatherm’s products; where metal conducts heat, PP-R is a natural insulator, preserving the heat (or chill) of the liquid it transports and reducing the necessity for external cladding.



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