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News Release

Construction of First Base-Isolated Hospital in India.

13 February 2002

Hospital drawing

Good progress is being made with the construction of the first large building to be base-isolated in India. This is the new 300-bed Bhuj District Hospital, a replacement for the one destroyed in the major Gujarat earthquake of 26 January 2001, India Republic Day.

Members of the Wellington-based Earthquake Engineering NZ business cluster have worked closely with the Indian designers and contractor in developing both the design of the base isolation system for this hospital and the supply of the customised bearings.

The design assistance was funded by the New Zealand Government's Overseas Development Assistance programme administered by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT). MFAT and TradeNZ Officials welcomed the Earthquake Engineering NZ business cluster initiative and facilitation of this project.

The original Bhuj District Hospital collapsed in the massive earthquake that hit Bhuj, killing almost all the 176 patients and a number of nurses. The replacement hospital is being founded on Robinson Seismic Lead Rubber Bearings which will give it the highest possible earthquake protection. This will protect the patients and ensure that the hospital will remain operational following future seismic attacks.

Hospital drawing

Preliminary discussions for the new Bhuj Hospital were undertaken in New Delhi by cluster member Dr Richard Sharpe (director of earthquake engineering, Beca Carter Hollings & Ferner Ltd ) who is currently assisting the Asian Development Bank in another earthquake engineering project there. He visited the Bhuj area with the joint World Bank/ADB assessment team soon after the earthquake.

The Base-Isolation design was carried out in Wellington by cluster members Holmes Consulting Group and Dunning Thornton Consultants led by directors Jason Milburn and Adam Thornton. Holmes/Dunning Thornton have also been supervising the installation of the bearings on site in Bhuj. The Indian design team is led by architect Uday Pattanayak of EFN Ribeiro Associates, New Delhi, and Structural Engineer Kamal Sabharwal.

Hospital drawing

The bearings for Bhuj District Hospital have been contract manufactured and tested by cluster member Robinson Seismic Ltd, who successfully bid to the Indian building contractor Larsen and Toubro for this work. Director Bill Robinson invented Lead Rubber Bearings (LRBs) during the 1970's. LRBs are now installed under several Wellington buildings including Parliament Buildings, the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa, the new Accident and Emergency Department at Wellington Hospital and in hundreds of buildings in other countries.

Construction of the Bhuj District Hospital is expected to be completed in time for it to be opened on the second anniversary of the earthquake on the 26th of January 2003.


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