Evaluating ground conditions for a new hospital campus in Palmerston North
No one wants to build on shaky ground—especially not when you’re building a hospital. That’s why the Mid Central District Health Board asked us to carry out a due diligence study to support their plan to redevelop the Palmerston North Hospital campus in a way that meets the facility’s normal and post-disaster service requirements.
Our team carried out a preliminary assessment of natural hazards that might occur, leading us to a more systematic evaluation of the site’s seismic response with the aim to confirm the soil class. Before our involvement, several independent geotechnical investigative reports had been done by other organisations. After assessing them together for clarity, we conducted geophysical surveys to fill the gaps for the ground model and help with our seismic assessment. Using a formula for the maximum-strength earthquake hospital buildings can manage, we modelled earthquake acceleration at the ground surface under different amplitudes of building vibration. Taking information from geophysical surveys, boreholes, and cone penetrometer tests, we created a 3D subsurface geotechnical model and used it to select appropriate locations to carry out one-dimensional site response analyses.
Following our work, the Board compared the options and discovered that their preferred site is suitable for further development.
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