Oman International Hospital

Oman International Hospital ... taking shape in the heart of Muscat.

Oman International Hospital ... taking shape in the heart of Muscat.

New healthcare landmark

Work is fast nearing completion on a new private hospital in Muscat that will boast some of the most innovative medical technologies and specialities in the sultanate when it opens its doors later this year.

February 2020

Oman International Hospital, a landmark hospital that will bring some of the most advanced and innovative medical technologies to Oman, is now receiving its finishing touches at a strategic location in Muscat, in time for its opening scheduled for the second half of 2020. 

The Oman International Hospital project – being spearheaded by three partners, Suhail Bahwan Group Holding (SBGH), Oman Brunei Investment Company (OBIC) and Idealmed Global Healthcare Services (IGHS) – is a pioneering project in a number of respects.  “It will be the first private hospital in Oman to feature 3T MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), the first fully robotised laboratory system in Oman and a unique “medical spa”,” Manuel Carvalho, IGHS delegate administrator for the Mena Region and Oman International Hospital COO, tells Gulf Construction magazine.

The project was initiated by OBIC, a branch of the Omani State General Reserve Fund and its counterpart in the Sultanate of Brunei. OBIC identified IGHS, a new healthcare management group from Portugal as the operator and the project management leader to realise its vision for an international standard private healthcare hospital in Muscat.

Oman International Hospital ... VHM handled the architectural design and engineering concept of the project.

Oman International Hospital ... VHM handled the architectural design and engineering concept of the project.

Having identified the most suitable location for the hospital, these companies approached Suhail Bahwan Group Holding for a possible cooperation, as the plot of land selected for the project was owned by the Omani group. “SBGH quickly realised the potential of the project, and not only showed interest to cooperate with OBIC and IGHS but was eager to become a relevant investor of the project,” Carvalho remarks.

IGHS, an international project manager and operator of hospitals, is in charge of the conception, design, project management, procurement, staffing and commissioning of the project and is also responsible for the operations.

To achieve the best results, IGHS is relying on its long-time partners in co-developing this kind of projects; for this particular project it chose VHM to handle the architectural design, engineering concept, building tender management and construction supervision.

The consortium of SBGH, OBIC and IGHS chose Al Subhiah Contracting as the main contractor for the hospital building after carefully assessing bids from more than 50 other competing companies.

The construction contract, which was awarded in April 2018, is expected to be completed by the end of April 2020, with hospital operations scheduled to commence in the second half of 2020. 

The concept, envisioned by IGHS and developed by VHM, will be a landmark building on the Muscat landscape, based on Omani architecture but with a modern character. The intention was also to build a hospital where patients feel relaxed, in line with its strategy for faster recovery.

“IGHS deeply believes that the best hospital environment is one that perfectly balances the often-conflicting principles of aesthetics and functionality, comfort and safety, culture and technology. We believe our patients will find this balance emanating from every corner of the interior space during their stay with us,” says Carvalho.

The hospital project is now in the final stages of construction.

The hospital project is now in the final stages of construction.

Located on a 10,000-sq-m plot in Al Ghubra near Grand Mosque, the hospital facility encompasses a built-up area of 42,000 sq. m, spread over six storeys and two basement levels.

The facility aims to offer healthcare services for 43 medical and surgical specialties with six Centres of Excellence and a special focus on mother and child, eye pathologies and heart diseases. The multispecialty hospital will also be a reference hospital for orthopaedics, ENT, neurosurgery, plastic surgery, dermatology, gastroenterology, general surgery, urology, pulmonology, neurology psychiatry, psychology and dental care.

The Oman International Hospital will have more than 100 inpatient beds in a variety of configurations (single and premium rooms, and junior and senior and VIP suites), three delivery rooms, five modular operating theatres, one of which will be a hybrid room featuring the most high-tech equipment available.

The building also features an emergency department with specialties support 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, alongside an imaging department and the laboratory.

The penthouse of the hospital building will feature a restaurant that can be described as a ‘medical spa’ – a new concept of physical rehabilitation boasting panoramic views of the city skyline. The medical spa will combine the features of a conventional physiotherapy unit with dermatology, aesthetic and cosmetic treatments and massages, with private pools and Jacuzzis.

Another facility in the premises will be a 300-plus-slot basement car parking.

“Thanks to the close cooperation between the Oman International Hospital and Siemens European Centre, it will feature the first 3T MRI in a private hospital in Oman as well as a top-of-the-line low radiation dose CT scan facility and the first fully robotised laboratory system in Oman,” Carvalho says with pride.

This partnership with Siemens also calls for the setting up of a medical academy sponsored by Siemens, where training will be provided to doctors, nurses and health technicians across the region with the involvement of leading doctors and health professionals in their respective fields.

Oman International Hospital ... striking an optimum balance between meeting the local architecture style and the needs of the operator.

Oman International Hospital ... striking an optimum balance between meeting the local architecture style and the needs of the operator.

For an adequate and proper planning of the hospital, IGHS has developed a functional plan for the hospital, establishing the functional spaces and areas, with a description of the proximity requirements and connections between them. This plan also outlines the flows for staff, patients, visitors, medical supplies, waste, etc. VHM architects have skilfully incorporated these functional flows into the spatial form of the building.

This functional plan and the workflows it specifies inside the hospital are completely mirrored on a state-of-the-art Health Information System developed by Ciberbit, IGHS technology partner. This design along with clinically optimized features, combined with an easy-to-use user interface, makes this Health Information System an invaluable tool for health facility management.

 To facilitate the future growth of the hospital, IGHS has allocated areas strategically located around the building that will be left for future expansion. This is because the premises are vertical in nature and hence any expansion on its footprint would involve considerable disturbance to its normal operation.

The building rests on a raft slab foundation, work on which started in October 2018.  The structure is composed of a system of concrete columns and post-tensioned (PT) slabs, while the finishes mainly comprise vinyl sheets for the medical areas, stone and tiling. The internal partitions are primarily drywall partitions with acoustic insulation to facilitate future changes, if required.

The superstructure work commenced in January 2019, with the concrete strength specified being C40.

A wide range of mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP]) systems have being incorporated to ensure a highly functional and efficient medical facility including a building management system (BMS), sound, CCTV, nurse call system, baby kidnapping protection system, access control, SMATV, telecommunications, public address and voice alarm (PAVA) and background music (BGM) system, heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC), plumbing, fire alarm, detection and fighting systems, carbon monoxide detection, drainage, water supply, medical gas and parking ventilation.

Work on the project started in late 2018.

Work on the project started in late 2018.

Bahwan Electronics is responsible for the HVAC works while Al Subhiah Trading and Contracting is handling the electrical and plumbing works involved in the project.

The structure has also been planned with its sustainability in mind, particularly in terms of thermal control through an efficient design of the building envelope to reduce the air-conditioning load requirements and the associated electrical consumption.  The entire façade features thermal insulation while the aluminium glazing system incorporates thermal breaks.

Commenting on the challenges of the project, VHM’s general manager for the Middle East Vítor Conceição says: “Construction of this kind of healthcare facilities always involves a large number of challenges that need to be addressed on a daily basis to ensure the success of the project. For this particular project, the main challenges were the development and integration of a healthcare facility of this scale and specialization in the heart of the city of Muscat, guaranteeing its integration and visibility and striking an optimum balance between meeting local standards and the needs of the operator to achieve their international standards and procedures. Only through conducting a detailed study of the existing conditions and practices and daily teamwork with all the stakeholders involved these challenges could be tackled.”

The project has drawn up impressive statistics involving some 78,000 cu m of excavation works, 30,000 cu m of concrete, 230 tonnes of steel, 211 external windows, 275 km of cables and 45 km of pipes, among others.  

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