Construction unrest will not stop historic Sydney hospital refurbishment

Everest Contracting

The refurbishment of historic Prince Henry Hospital has been saved by the NSW Government’s decision to allow Sydney’s construction industry to ramp up while Victoria locks down once again.

Everest Construction Director Robin Shaw, whose remedial building firm is celebrating its 15th anniversary this month, has publicly thanked the NSW Government and commended the behaviour of all those in his industry in NSW.

“We commend the NSW Government for recognising the hard work which all construction workers at all levels in NSW have been putting in to stay covid-safe and for not putting us through the economic and personal trauma being faced by our Victorian counterparts,” Mr Shaw said.

The Sydney-based remedial builder had begun to hold emergency meetings in response to the escalating situation in Victoria when the welcome news came through that the NSW Government was in fact easing restrictions from next Monday. “To say we were relieved by the news of the NSW Government’s response is an understatement. In July, we saw the impact of lockdown on the lives of our 50 staff, 30 clients and the residents on our 30 active sites, most of which are occupied. We feel for our Victorian counterparts as they struggle to go through all that again.”

Mr Shaw said it seemed symbolic that one of their projects which can now be completed due to permission to increase the number of workers on NSW sites, is the historic Prince Henry Hospital at Little Bay. Work on the historic Clock Tower and stained glass windows of the Nurses Chapel was recently completed with only some remedial construction on precinct buildings needing to be finalised by the end of this month.

The Hospital which was established in 1881 as NSW’s first hospital for infectious diseases, closed in 2003. The precinct features the Prince Henry Hospital Nursing and Medical Museum which maintains an extensive collection of documents, artefacts and memorabilia related to the Hospital, the hundreds of doctors, nurses, patients and support staff associated with it and the general history of medicine in NSW. The museum is currently open Sundays with appropriate public health measures in place.

“We value quality craftsmanship on our all projects, but working on completing this tribute to NSW medicine has been extra satisfying during this challenging time,” said Mr Shaw. Everest Contracting has been providing remedial and restoration works for strata developments, commercial and heritage buildings in and around Sydney since September 2006. He said they never envisaged that during their 15th anniversary, they would be doing consultations via zoom.

“At this and all our sites, Everest Contracting has been careful to do all we can to ensure the safety of our staff, residents and the community. As well as zoom consultations, this has included amending site plans so that only five people are on site at once, establishing separate entrances and rest areas plus efficient QR code check-ins,” Mr Shaw said.

“We, our staff and clients appreciate this opportunity for our work and livelihoods to continue beyond our first 15 years,” he said. “And we remain committed to maintaining high standards of health and safety on all our sites. It is something we have always done as well as a vital part of our contribution to ensuring that NSW construction can continue to thrive during these challenging times.”

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