Health Minister Tony Ryall says a $650 million rebuild of Burwood hospital in Christchurch will make it the largest and most complex hospital building project in the history of the public health service in New Zealand.
Three main blocks will accommodate up to 230 patients.
Construction of the platform and foundations will begin next month and the main building work will start in January. Completion is set for the end of 2015.
Mr Ryall said the rebuild will take the pressure off Canterbury health services caused by the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes.
Construction of Christchurch hospital will take place at the same time and is expected to be completed by 2018.