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Austin Health - High Voltage and Generation Project

Austin Health
Completion Year: 
  • Austin HV
  • Austin HV

Austin Health is the major provider of tertiary health services and health professional education and research in the northeast of Melbourne. Austin Health comprises of the Austin Hospital, Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital and the Royal Talbot Rehabilitation Centre.

The Austin Hospital Site houses the Austin Tower (Austin) and co-locates the Mercy Hospital for Women (Mercy) with common basement level carparks (B1, B2, B3 and B4 Levels). The basement carpark has various entrance/exits from Studley Road (B1 and B3) and Burgundy Road (B2).

The Austin Tower and Mercy also comprises of an Emergency Department, Intensive Care Unit, acute inpatient beds, CCU and a number of ancillary functions. Mercy Hospital for Women (MHW) offers obstetrics, gynaecology, neonatal services including NICU. The existing 58 bed Unit consists of intensive care and special care nurseries.

The Austin Hospital Site also houses the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Centre and Wellness Centre, Acute Mental Health Services, Melbourne Brain Centre and Bio Resources and other facilities.

Since 2005 the Austin Hospital Site at Heidelberg has experienced prolonged power supply outages which have had an impact on business continuity, community expectations and staff/patient safety.

In all instances the backup power, intended to be supplied via the High Voltage (HV) network, failed to operate due to common HV infrastructure between the normal and backup power systems. This resulted in complete loss of power to the affected areas lasting for about an hour in each instance.

Since 2005 there have been a number of projects designed to improve the reliability and efficiency of the HV system, but the legacy issue of the common bus system inherent within the original design strategy has not been addressed.

A major overhaul of the existing HV System and concept of power supply emergency backup was required to provide a more robust and resilient power supply system for a Category 1 Hospital.


As part of the HV and Generation Project, the new design had to address the issues of replacing existing aging infrastructure including unreliable power infrastructure within the HV system, HV Protection System, HV Controls, HV Generation system and existing site wide system topology. Some of these included, but not limited to:

  • HV protection system was required to be revised and be reconfigured
  • New LV Main Switchboards and Automatic Switches for Generation System
  • The existing generator controls and SCADA required to be upgraded
  • Paralleling different generator sizes and sets
  • New Roof Top (3 x 2000KVA) Generator System
  • New Mental health generation system
  • New Lance Townsend Substation Transformers and Switchboard

To implement the new design, there were a total of 59 major shutdowns to the hospital’s infrastructure and three site wide blackstart testing to enable the new HV system and Generation System to be implemented with minimal down time to the hospital. The careful planning of the entire team (LCI and all stakeholders) have successfully delivered a highly complex project on time, on budget and without affecting the operation of the hospital (this included Emergency Department, Ambulance, Mental Health, Operating and Procedure Rooms, Hospital Data Centre)

In 2018, Austin High Voltage project ($20Mil) was awarded the NECA Excellence award for Major Projects. This was against the New Ravenhall Correctional Centre project (approximately $650Mil) and the new Monash Children’s Hospital (approximately $250Mil). This award is a great testament of great team effort of the entire project team (Nilsen, LCI, Austin and Built).

Clients we have worked with