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Enhancing Regional Healthcare: Fleetwood Delivers Innovative Accommodation Solution in Biggenden

One of the challenges of life in regional and remote areas is attracting suitable staff for key positions and getting them to stay. 

Thanks to Fleetwood Australia, the town of Biggenden in Queensland’s North Burnett Region is now better placed to service a wide range of its own health needs, as well as those of neighbouring communities. 

Working with valued partner Queensland Health, Fleetwood delivered 10 highly functional, extremely comfortable and aesthetically pleasing modular buildings to the Biggenden Multipurpose Health Service to replace long-standing but dated nurses’ quarters and shared amenities. 

The one-bedroom Yallambee Studio units are 61m2 and are part of Fleetwood’s recently released 2023 housing range and are self-contained with kitchen areas, ensuites, laundry facilities, living areas, reverse-cycle air-conditioning. The side door leads to an outdoor area for cloths line and sitting area for resident comfort. 

“We’re delighted to be able to deliver this quality project for Queensland Health and the Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service,” Fleetwood Australia Sales Manager Mark Watkins said.         

“It’s a great example of a client presenting Fleetwood with a challenge and us being able to meet and exceed their requirements. In this case, that challenge was delivering high-standard accommodation in a cost-effective and timely manner, while meeting the particular needs of the health care professionals who will live there. 

“Queensland Health is absolutely thrilled by what we delivered and I know the doctors and nurses who undertake stints in Biggenden will feel right at home. 

With only 1700m2 of useable site, the fishbone layout of the buildings was a real focus of our approach as it helps ensure privacy and minimal disruptions as staff come and go at different hours depending on their varying shifts. Consideration was giving to each courtyard to provide privacy while giving the residence somewhere to spend time outdoors. 

“The Tandara Studio is really perfect for this type of development, compact enough to allow for easy care and maintenance, yet spacious in feel with their comfortable open plan design. 

“Fleetwood Australia is very pleased to have provided Biggenden Multipurpose Health Service with accommodation which will help it attract and maintain much-needed staff.” 

The new accommodation has already caught the eye of Queensland Minister for Health Shannon Fentiman, who posted on her socials about that exact benefit. 

Mark Watkins said Fleetwood Australia’s ability to manage all aspects of the project, from landscaping to service connections had provided for fast and efficient delivery. 

Whereas a traditional construction approach in Biggenden might have taken a year or even more, Fleetwood was able to complete the job in less than seven months. 

“Managing the electrical side of things around a job like this is always quite complex because you’re working within a live hospital environment,” Watkins said. 

“You can’t just shut down all the power when you want to energise the accommodation because of the potential that the hospital might be dealing with an emergency, and you also have to factor in the back-up generators that are part of a health service set-up like this. These units were manufactured with connection to Essential and non-essential power sources to accommodate any power outages that the town may experience. But our contractors Stowe Electrical always do a terrific job with that side of things. 

“There are a wide range of benefits that come with modular construction but one is definitely the timeframe in which projects can be delivered. We were awarded the project at the end of March and it was basically finished by the end of September. 

“Because we manufacture our modules to very precise specifications under factory conditions and then transport them to site for installation, the whole process is quite seamless. The ability to start manufacture of the buildings in the factory while started works on site allows us to compress overall construction timelines and that’s definitely an advantage over traditional construction for a regional location like Biggenden, where it may be a significant challenge just to get building materials there. 

“Another real plus with Fleetwood’s modular methods is that factory settings provide for greater opportunities to recycle materials, which makes for less waste and better sustainability outcomes”.  

Fleetwood Australia’s 2023 housing range features a wide range of housing options that are suited to a variety of purposes – from key worker quarters (like Biggenden) to social and community housing, lifestyle villages and short stay holiday accommodation. 

View the full range at: Housing Development NSW, VIC, QLD, WA, SA | Residential Development (fleetwood.com.au)

Each of the designs meets new national Liveable Housing Design Guidelines (silver level) aimed at ensuring adaptability and accessibility for people with a range of needs and abilities.

The Biggenden accommodation reflects this, with one of the units featuring accessibility ramps to cater for people with disability.