October Meeting: Warren Crawley Technical Services Engineer MidCentral DHB

Engineering under pressure – creating a COVID-safe medical treatment facility within Palmerston North Hospital.

Shared Meeting with Manawatu Branch Engineering New Zealand.

Note time and day.

LOCATION:         Education Room, Te Manawa Museum

TIME                      17:30 (5.30PM)

DATE                     Thursday 22 Oct 2020


In early 2020, COVID pandemic cases had not yet reached Palmerston North, but it was evident that this was a matter of “when” rather than “if”. The disease was known to be infectious, which posed an engineering problem as well as medical problem. At worst the hospital could find itself having to treat large numbers of very sick and infectious persons, over extended periods of time, within a facility where there was already a large number of sick people who definitely did not need to acquire COVID. The virus is known to be transmitted via microscopic airborne droplets, and by deposits left on surfaces. The engineering problem was to redesign sections of ICU, operating theatres and also wards to include airlocks and containment systems to make sure coronavirus contamination could not pass to other sections of the hospital either carried by air, on surfaces or on staff PPE. A significant engineering design and installation project, under extreme time pressure, was completed and now offers capabilities for the future.