When the Covid-19 situation turned into a global pandemic in March 2020, Wimmera Health Care Group, along with many other healthcare providers, realised it was underprepared for a potential influx of patients as a result of the crisis.

Wimmera Health approached Oscar Building, a modular building manufacturer supplying fixed and relocatable buildings throughout Australia, with a problem: they needed pre- and post-shift shower facilities for staff as a safety measure in preparation for a Covid-19 influx – and they needed it fast.

The group wanted a solution that would keep out the bitter sting of the Wimmera winter and provide a level of comfort for their dedicated staff, which would be facing challenging and potentially dangerous circumstances. The buildings had to be durable and of high quality while making use of available materials, and lastly, had to be built very quickly.

Oscar Building got down to business, realising this was not a regular job. This was an opportunity to support an important public service and do their bit as Australia looked down the barrel of a wave of COVID-19 patients, as was being witnessed overseas in countries like Italy and the UK.

This was where the innovation and invention that saw Oscar Group grow from a humble family business started in 1958 into what it is today – a business constantly pushing the boundaries in modular and transportable buildings – came into its own.

In a matter of days, the product development team designed a unit consisting of four en-suite bathrooms with showers, toilets and vanity units, configuring them to suit the hospital site conditions and service points. Within two weeks, Wimmera Health’s first custom designed and locally built modular amenities block was installed. The second followed just a week later.

The build was a communal effort. Understanding the urgency of the hospital’s need, Oscar Building’s existing customers allowed their projects to be put on hold so labour and resources could be focused on getting the shower blocks built as fast as possible.

Oscar Building Director Matthew Op de Coul said that with all other projects put on hold, a flurry of work commenced, all the while ensuring the workshop adhered to the social distancing rules that were in place.

“The job certainly didn’t come without its challenges. Not only were we working on a tight deadline with little time for planning or mistakes, we had to retrofit the workshop and introduce new procedures to ensure a safe working environment for our staff,” said Matthew.

“Once the threat of COVID-19 passes we will work with the hospital to repurpose the block or find them a new home. There are plenty of footy and netball clubs looking for new shower facilities so who knows, maybe they will end up supporting the community in some other way”, said Matthew.

In this case, Wimmera Health leased the modular buildings without knowledge of whether they would cope with demand or not be required at all. The group wanted to ensure they had the facilities and capacity to deal with the potential effects of the crisis, as an important part of their continuity planning. Thankfully, they have only seen moderate precautionary use, but the facilities are ready and waiting if the worst-case scenario does occur.

Modular buildings by Oscar Building can be used in a wide range of healthcare applications and are suitable for operating rooms, entire wards, staff accommodation and consultation rooms.

The modular, transportable units can be built to adhere to the strictest medical requirements and designed to be indistinguishable from existing facilities. The use of off-site construction can reduce disruption to existing operations and significantly condenses on-site construction schedules, meaning modular healthcare facilities can be delivered to very tight timescales.

If you are looking to increase capacity and preparedness temporarily, or wish to expand your site with minimal disruption, get in touch with Oscar Building on (03) 5382 2939 or email info@oscarbuilding.com.au.