Hospital Update: A "Bottom-Up" Approach

A scene of the hospital construction site| Photo: Scott Jones

The hospital foundation is coming together | Photo: Scott Jones

ASRI's Community Hospital and Training Center continues to roll along here in Sukadana as we enter our third month of construction. So far, progress has been stunningly smooth, with the overall timeline tracking ahead of schedule and far fewer headaches than you would normally expect for a project of this size and complexity. We can all confidently attribute the project's preliminary success to the commitment and dedication of the design and management teams, as well as the positive and transparent relationship with the contractor.

We are currently in the "structural" phase of construction, which is typically the most challenging and critical part of any construction project.

The building has been designed using Indonesian methodologies, adhering to American standards, while being built by local labor with familiar materials.  The structure primarily consists of typical Indonesian construction techniques such as concrete beams, masonry block walls, and metal roof trusses. However, the foundation was designed in partnership with the local contractor and American design team to provide world class levels of strength and resilience. These lofty goals are achieved with 8 m x 375 cm reinforced concrete "piles" which are driven into the ground by a 2000 kg steel hydraulic hammer.

The advantage of the pile foundation is in allowing the building to reach through the soft upper soil layers of sand and organic material, into the firm clay and bedrock beneath.  By essentially putting the building on stilts, we intend to prevent uneven settlement, and improve building performance during natural disasters such as flooding, high winds and earthquakes.

One of the piles of the hospital foundation, driven deep into the ground | Photo: Scott Jones

One of the piles of the hospital foundation, driven deep into the ground | Photo: Scott Jones

The foundation of the entire CHTC will contain roughly 500 of these piles.  At the time of writing, we have poured more than 350 piles, and successfully installed more than 175, completing the foundation for Building A, and moving on to Buildings B and C.

As the pile foundation for each building is completed, local laborers are sequentially moving into place and beginning to pour the concrete for the pile caps, which the floor beams, floor slabs, and building columns will rest on.  By working on an accelerated schedule and utilizing phased construction and "parallel path" techniques, we anticipate being effectively out of the ground by the time rainy season returns to Indonesia. This represents a huge benefit in being able to easily pour and dry the concrete building components, and makes for a much more comfortable work environment.

In moving ahead, we look forward to continuing a positive relationship with the contractor, and building the best hospital we possibly can.  While the success of the CHTC will be in its' staff and programs, the building itself represents a solid foundation (literally and figuratively), which will be critical to providing community members with the best possible health care.

Watch the pile driver in action:



About Scott Jones | View all posts by Scott Jones

Scott was the Hospital Project Manager at Health In Harmony in 2015. He was based at ASRI in Sukadana, West Kalimantan.