While a strong structure, the condition of the Ward Block is worse than anticipated with a range of issues including asbestos, leaky pipes, poor layout, exterior concrete spalling, limited ceiling to floor height and services that do not comply with IL4 earthquake standards that require the hospital to continue to operate immediately after a major earthquake. The Ward Block will also have ongoing maintenance issues associated with a 50 year old building.
A renovation would take until 2031 to complete and is expected to cost more than building a new facility from scratch. In the end it would cost more and take longer to renovate the Ward Block as well as being a sub optimal outcome for patients.
The way hospitals care for patients has evolved greatly since the Ward Block was built and will continue to evolve. We need flexible spaces which can easily incorporate new ways of working. The layout of the Ward Block is not suited to the technology which will be used in a modern hospital nor the way different hospital services are now configured.
Renovating would be hugely disruptive as wards would have to keep operating while they were shifted floor by floor around ongoing building work. The Interim Works projects at the current hospital have highlighted the challenges of undertaking extensive construction projects in a working hospital.