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Scan Display built the largest COVID-19 hospital in Africa

by | Jul 31, 2020

Scan Display designed and built Africa’s largest dedicated Covid-19 temporary hospital at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) in Cape Town, South Africa.

The South African exhibition, events and display company, was commissioned by the Western Cape Department of Health to transform four exhibition halls into four separate recovery wards for the temporary hospital.

Scan Display has worked closely with the CTICC for many years, with the company’s Cape Town branch building exhibition infrastructure and stands for shows like Mining Indaba, Design Indaba Expo, Investec Cape Town Art Fair and Africa Oil Week.

Although building a temporary hospital was not something the Scan Display team had done before, the company has always valued the importance of design, and its integration into innovative working solutions.  The company’s team of architects, interior designers, quantity surveyors and project managers took on the challenge of creating solutions for the hospital’s infrastructure, plumbing and electrical requirements.

The project’s brief included the following specifications:

  • 1 600 running metres of hard wood walling to partition 863 beds
  • Oxygen, electricity, Internet, nurse calling and plumbing for each patient
  • Wired Internet connection to create a paperless facility
  • Over 50 plumbed basins with medical grade taps
  • 30 custom-made shower units for staff, in a location requiring the wastewater to be pumped up to the nearest run-off, one floor above the location of the showers
  • Nurses stations, a physiotherapy unit, treatment rooms, pharmacies, donning and doffing areas and macerator rooms
  • Extra patient toilets and showers in the marshalling yard, with multiple marquees and covered walkways
  • Signage, patient notice boards, directional signage, and other graphics

Working on the project during lockdown Level 4 was not an easy task. Online (rather than on site) project meetings, with sometimes 50 participants, added to the project’s challenges. Scan Display’s Creative Director, Paul Hugo, was responsible for collating the requirements from the different departments during the meetings, and then generating a design that would meet the requirements.

With only a two-day notification before the start of the build, Scan Display brought suppliers out of lockdown and set about planning the project, with Council submissions being made and Fire Chief approval being given during the build. The company’s production team faced its own set of challenges: wearing hard hats, Perspex visors and masks, and maintaining social distancing made the build more difficult.

The project was a real collaborative effort with Scan Display’s multidisciplinary team working closely with the Western Cape Department of Health’s Chief Architect: Infrastructure Planning, Duncan Rendall, and the Project Manager appointed by the Western Cape Department of Health, Mark Munro. It was through this combined effort that the team was able to design, manufacture and install a working hospital in just over two weeks.

The exhibition and events industries require thorough planning, and creative problem solving when things do not go to plan, as they have tight deadlines that cannot be moved. Scan Display was able to put the skills learnt in the exhibition industry over more than two decades to good use creating this healthcare facility, Hospital of Hope.

Scan Display’s Cape Town Sales Manager, Jane Steel, concludes: “The project offered Scan Display an opportunity to showcase the depth of talent in our company which enabled us to move seamlessly from exhibition design and infrastructure into building a temporary Covid-19 hospital. Scan Display has always championed a can-do attitude, and this certainly came to the fore.”


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