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Royal Columbian Hospital expansion project moving on up in New West

New RCH tower on track to open in New Westminster in 2025

Three down, seven to go.

The Royal Columbian redevelopment project is currently in Phase 2, which involves construction of a new tower with a new main hospital entrance and a rooftop. The 10-storey building will include a new acute care tower (more beds for intensive care, cardiac intensive care, medicine and surgical patients), a larger emergency department, more maternity bed and an maternity operating room, a new rooftop helipad and more.

“With a design-build project, it’s a fast track so we have designing and constructing at the same time. So from a design perspective we are close to 60% and from a construction perspective it is already up to Level 3 now, and there are seven more levels that need to go,” said Sharat Chandra, chief project officer and executive director for the RCH redevelopment project. “So, it’s another three years of construction. There are a lot of activities going on. Right now, touch wood, everything is as per schedule.”

Construction of the Royal Columbian Hospital tower is on track to open in 2025.

With a lot of hard work and a little luck, Chandra said the team has been able to able to navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic and not fall behind.

In January 2021, Fraser Health announced it had signed a design-build agreement for Phase 2 and a construction management agreement for Phase 3 of the Royal Columbian Hospital redevelopment project with EllisDon.

Chandra said the tower will have two below-ground levels, P1 and P2, with around 350 parking stalls.

“And then we have Level 0 to the basement level, and then on top of that we have three more levels. Levels 1, 2 and 3 – that’s where you may see the columns coming up and where the walls coming up,” he said of current status of construction. “Overall, it’s a 10-storey building. Then on top of the 10th we have a (mechanical room) penthouse and a new heliport.”

Noise exemption

New Westminster city council has approved a noise exemption that will allow a concrete pour to be done at the site on Friday, April 22.

On Monday, council approved a request from EllisDon Design Build for an exemption to the city’s construction noise bylaw. The exemption would allow work to be done from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday, April 22 – or during an eight-day period up until Sunday, April 30 if unfavourable weather conditions or construction delays prohibit the concrete pour from taking place on April 22.

“The pour would facilitate construction of the acute care tower third-level elevator core,” said a staff report to council.

Now at Level 3, the tower will eventually go up to Level 10, said Chandra.

“As these levels are coming up, you have to kind of increase the height of these elevator cores. That form is an essential part of the design,” he told the Record. “I think the key thing is, from a construction point of view, you want to pour all the concrete on that core at the same time. … You want to have all that concrete cured at the same time for that level. That is why EllisDon, our construction partner, is looking for this exemption, so they can pour it in one go, rather than coming again and again.”

During the concrete pour, about seven concrete trucks per hour will visit the site, for a total of 56 trucks during the duration of the pour, said a report to city council.

Chandra thanked the community for being “exceptionally patient and exceptionally supportive” of the project.

“I know noise and parking has been one of the key points that was being made by the community, and we – both the Fraser Health and EllisDon – have been very, very supportive of all the efforts the community is making to help us to make sure that we can help them,” he said. “From that perspective, I do want to thank the support that I personally have received on this project for the last three-and-a-half years, and I do look forward to having that for the next four years.”

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