Cabrini Brighton builds a brand new facility to house state-of-the art MRI machine
Healthcare providers around the world are under pressure as to how best manage two seemingly contradictory forces: delivering the highest quality care with an ever-decreasing budget, whilst servicing an ever-increasing number of MRI scans.
Cabrini Brighton has sought to resolve these dilemmas by installing a sophisticated scanner, the Siemens MAGNETOM Aera. The machine delivers exceptional quality and speed for efficient MRI processes; enables validated push-button brain examinations in fewer than six minutes; reduces sound pressure by up to 99% with a Quiet Suite and helps reduce overhead costs with industry-leading energy efficiency.
The introduction of this ground breaking technology is noteworthy, as a brand new facility, was built to ensure that all the specifications of the machine could be accommodated under the one roof, and be easily accessible to the hospital’s existing medical imaging department.
A site in the courtyard of Cabrini Brighton’s New Street location was selected as it met these requirements. Works are being carried out according to a meticulous schedule, designed to cause as little disruption to the hospital’s day-to-day operations as possible.
“We have had to bring in our services through the hospital into the courtyard and then comply with the very specific requirements dictated by this state-of-the-art machine,” explained Eric Ko, Electrical Engineer and Senior Associate heading the project team for the engineering and sustainability consultancy, Umow Lai
“Factors like these make it an interesting and challenging job,” Eric said. “It has been helpful that we’ve formed a close working relationship with Siemens Healthcare (Australia), manufacturer of the MAGNETOM Aera, and are able to do our job with minimal disruption to the day-to-day running of the hospital.”
The Umow Lai team worked on the RF shielding (Faraday cage) required for the MRI examination room. As well as protecting the MRI system from RF interference, the shielding also helps protect any nearby occupants from being exposed to the strong magnetic field generated by the MRI equipment.
All of the engineering services equipment and fittings within the MRI examination room have to be made of non-magnetic materials and must pass through RF filters to avoid disturbance to the operation of the MRI equipment.
Umow Lai provided electrical, mechanical, hydraulic and fire services designs and were engaged by Jacobs Thomas Architects, strengthening a partnership formed during the refurbishment and expansion of Cabrini Brighton completed in 2009.
Paul Stapleton, Director at Jacobs Thomas Architects, explained how the design was approached: “We wanted to make sure that our design intentions matched the needs of the hospital”.
The most suitable location for the new MRI facility was at ground floor level in the internal courtyard, permitting direct connection to the existing medical imaging department. This presented access and material delivery issues during construction and to the continuing operation of the hospital. Being quite prominent from many angles, the facility needed to be sympathetic to the surrounding buildings, so was further softened by the use of living garden walls.
“The building is generally of lightweight construction to offset the heavy load of the MRI equipment on the existing car park structure below,” Paul added. “Because it is visible from several adjoining areas, the roof-mounted mechanical service needed careful consideration, suitable screening has been introduced.”
For Geoff Fazakerley, Cabrini Executive Director, Diagnostics, Major Projects and Infrastructure, “the construction of an MRI facility at Cabrini Brighton will enhance the patient experience by providing a much needed on site imaging modality for our referring doctors and the broader bayside community.”
In other words, by installing leading-edge technology, Cabrini Brighton is continuing to deliver the highest-quality care for the increasing number of their patients who require MRI scans.