Multi-performance plasterboard products from Knauf helped resolve construction design challenges at scale during the development of a state-of-the-art acute mental health facility in Melbourne's north.

Responding to the transformative 2021 Royal Commission into Victoria's Mental Health System, the government allocated $492 million to establish 144 much-needed acute mental health beds. Among these, 30 beds found their home at the Northern Hospital's Mental Health Unit in Epping, completed in February 2023.

The mental health unit boasts a range of features, including modern ensuite facilities, specialised clinical workrooms, a pathology lab, a medication office, dedicated police and ambulance transfer area, interview and tribunal rooms, office spaces, staff amenities, and a fully equipped plant room. The exterior complements the facility with outdoor courtyards, a basketball court, and an inviting winter garden.

Throughout the construction process, Knauf's expertise and products played an instrumental role, most notably the application of Multistop 5 HI and Echostop perforated plasterboard. These innovative solutions provide a range of functions, including acoustic performance and meet the stringent design and construction challenges faced in such a specialised setting.

Early design collaboration, a game changer on site.

With a tight 16-month window from inception to delivery, completing the Northern Hospital's new mental health unit required swift and efficient construction techniques. Opting for modular construction enabled the project design and construction managers to meet the demanding schedule.

Lendlease site engineer Silvia Ataide credits the early collaboration with Knauf systems engineers in seamlessly integrating the building's exterior with its intricate interior design requirements.

"Modular construction introduced complexities to the project's internals, as conventional wall systems often proved unsuitable for the site conditions we encountered. That's when Knauf stepped in and engineered design solutions tailored to our on-site needs," Ataide said.

Acoustic design for Northern Hospital was a high priority to ensure it met its requirements as a functioning specialist mental health facility. Chris Liparota, Lendlease's construction manager, emphasises Knauf's key role in resolving construction challenges during the project's inception and early design development stages. Knauf's Multistop 5 HI, specified for its sound and noise minimisation properties, was the ideal choice. Additionally, it provided superior impact resistance, ensuring optimal durability in the bustling, high-traffic hospital setting.

The completion of Northern Hospital's new unit is a notable addition to Victoria's mental health treatment capacity. Liparota attests to the important contributions made by Knauf's products and engineering design collaboration, affirming that both have helped pave the way for long-lasting success.

"With a project of this scale, it was important that we had Knauf's contribution right from design through to delivery. Having their involvement early streamlined that process and made sure we could achieve our goals."

Project details

Project: Northern Hospital, Epping

Builder: Lendlease

Year: 2022

Products: Knauf's Multistop 5 HI and Echostop plasterboard