Matt Allen is a Project Manager on the New Dunedin Hospital build. His company is RCP, who are leading providers of independent project management and strategic advisory services to New Zealand’s property and construction industry.
What is your background, and have you worked on any projects similar to the New Dunedin Hospital?
I trained and worked as an architectural draughtsperson before pursuing a career in construction site management, eventually ending up in consultancy project management at RCP. I have been working on healthcare projects since the very beginning of my career and have never strayed too far from the sector. Before joining RCP I was on the site team that delivered the new hospital in Invercargill from 2002-2004, after which I worked on a bunch of major projects at Middlemore Hospital from 2004-2008. Since then I have been involved in health sector projects for many DHB's and private healthcare providers across the country including projects for Canterbury DHB, Taranaki DHB, West Coast DHB and smaller projects at Southern DHB.
2) What does your role entail?
As lead Project Manager I provide leadership across the many technical workstreams and contracts that will pull together to deliver the built environment. For a project of this scale I have a project management team that support me as we exercise this leadership and control across many aspects from resource consents, building consents, procurement, construction and commissioning.
3) In what ways is this an interesting project for a Project Manager?
Most major healthcare projects in New Zealand are additions or alterations to what is already there, it is rare to create a new facility from scratch. The integration of the new built environment with the system transformation that will happen at the same time is a substantial piece of work, and making decisions early in the design process on a facility that won’t be occupied for a few more years is very challenging, but this is also what makes it so exciting. Knowing that you are a part of such a large system transformation is what excites me; sure the large construction piece is exciting too but integrating the many threads of change that will make the future building function and perform exceptionally well is at the heart of the challenge for me.
4) What are some of the challenges you'll face?
There are a great many challenges on this project. For me making the best use of this planning phase to make the construction as seamless as possible is where I will focus my effort for the next wee while. We have to analyse the workforce we need to deliver such a large piece of construction. We need to minimise our disruption to the local traffic network. We need to reduce our environmental impact particularly when demolishing existing buildings and clearing sites ready for construction. We need to consider how best to design and build the foundations to minimise the impact of noise and vibration on the local environment. In essence, we need to create and operate a construction enterprise in the centre of Dunedin that is as good a neighbour to the city as it possibly can be for the time it takes to get the job done.
5) What excites you most about the New Dunedin Hospital Project?
All of the above.