Angel has already torn twelve pages from the calendar that governs one of the construction booths of what will be, in the future, the new Don Benito-Villanueva hospital. Today, July 23, marks the 365th day since the first machine arrived on the land to start working on a plot of 116,329 square meters. A year since that July 23, 2021 in which the earthworks began with a solitary machine in a scenario that today is another. In this horizon, the three cranes that have drawn the silhouette of the hospital center for months and dozens of workers are shaping what will be, yes, only the first module, that of Outpatient Consultations, are no longer strange.
But that July 23, in addition to marking the start of the works, also kicked off a countdown of two years and two months, that is, almost 800 days. The execution period of the work will thus reach its halfway point at the end of August and in the last quarter of 2023 Ángel Gallego, construction manager of the Sehuca-Avintia joint venture in this project, will cross out the calendar for the last time.
Although, for that there are still more than 365 days left in which he will continue to speak almost daily with Sergio Garrido, deputy director of works of the Extremeño Health Service. Sometimes in person and many times by phone, both keep each other informed of everything that happens in that building that celebrates its first year, 365 days that have not been as expected. «We have had to fight against a multitude of factors: against the pandemic, against the transport crisis, against price increases, lack of labor… In other words, a number of circumstances that we had never experienced, not only in this work , but in all”, affirms Garrido.
“Almost certainly we will meet the deadline of September 2023, I think it is possible” “In terms of civil works, the building will be well advanced by the end of this year”
The pace of work was threatened, endangering deadlines, but also the economic viability of the project seemed to falter until the publication in December of additional provision 15 in the Budget Law. “We saw a little light,” he acknowledges, “we have worked a lot to try to come up with the necessary justifications for price increases and possible material changes.” Shortly after, everything seemed to be clarified with circular 2/2022, “as a result of that, the works are advancing at least without uncertainty in terms of execution costs.”
One of the examples that Garrido refers to is that, since January 1, steel has risen by 80 percent, according to official indices. However, it will not be until the work is finished when the extra cost can be measured. “It is very complex and depends on many factors,” he warns, although he indicates that current estimates are around 30 percent, “but it is an estimated figure, the real amount will not be known until the project is finished.”
One of the material changes derived from the additional arrangement will be on the façade, which will soon begin to take shape. However, Garrido maintains, the external consultation module is practically finished, the entrance hall is well advanced and could be finished next month. “We would lack the facilities and interior divisions, but in terms of civil works the building will be well advanced by the end of this year,” he explains while arguing that the pandemic has also generated some changes with respect to the initial project “which necessarily has to undergo modifications to adapt it to the new care model that covid has left us ».
On the other hand, touch-ups have also been made to the project on the outside, for example, with the creation of an alternative access from Don Benito initially planned with a road, but which will finally be carried out with a roundabout that will serve to decongest traffic.
finish on time
These will be the next steps to take in the more than 390 days that remain to be crossed off the calendar to continue shaping this first module of what in the future, with other deadlines, will be “a much more welcoming hospital, especially for workers, because the spaces will be larger, very bright and well finished, but also for patients who will find a building with clarity, all exterior and with another concept that is not that of the current hospital». In this sense, Sergio Garrido equates the model with the one executed in the Cáceres hospital.
As a last step, the building will have to undergo the final tests, “which consist of verifying that all the installations work, taking them to the limit, at 100%”. Subsequently, these new facilities must also be equipped and, most importantly, the necessary medical equipment that the opening of this External Consultations module entails, although these procedures are already outside the SES deputy director of works.
In any case, despite all the adversities mentioned by Garrido, the forecast to finish this first module remains the same: «Looking at it with perspective, we are satisfied with this first year and almost certainly we will meet the deadline of September 2023, I think it is possible to achieve.” Although, when that date arrives, citizens will want to mark on their calendar the date that generates real interest, the day that this first module is accompanied by a second phase so that it is really a new hospital. At the moment, it is only known that the pages would start to be torn out in 2023, crossing out days in the first half of this next year, which is when the bidding is expected to start.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.