How can it be done?
The first challenge was the existing elderly patients’ ward, onto which BAM has grafted the new wing. ”It has meant close co-ordination with the NHS Trust,” says the Construction Manager Matthew Garnett, “to identify hot spots and strategic closures so we can maintain or access critical amenities. For example, there’s bed pressure for the elderly in winter.
“The critical care unit will be situated underneath this existing structure towards the end of the programme, but we needed to do significant drilling and clearance to commence.
“We knew there was rock in the ground across the plot that could not be excavated so we’ve broken this up and removed it. Thankfully that’s gone well.”
One of the team’s tasks is to align the level of the new wards, because the ground and floors are not even across the structure. A new roof has been installed over the existing ward, meaning BAM are literally working above it, beneath it (for the critical care unit) and to the side of it (for the new ward). Significant temporary works were needed to deal with this and tasks such as moving the water tanks. The existing ward has been de-clad and is being re-clad in sympathy with the new ward, using modular Trespa panels.
Retail clients will occupy the new ‘corridor’ that runs at ground floor across the new wing. “We simply deliver the shell for this; the client’s team is fitting it out. We’re using a hard-wearing Terrazzo tiling to the main concourse area.”
Crowning the development will be a feature wall. “This will be an impressive glazed canopy, with a circular revolving door and a three-storey high stone wall running through it. It’s going to look very striking.”
The stone elevation element of the feature wall, is also where the team installs the new staircase and lift shafts, will be clad sympathetically so that it fits in with the traditional stone cladding of the 1930s building.
Working safely and considerately around a constrained live hospital site
Working around an existing ward with elderly patients has required the BAM team to be very adaptable. Matthew Garnet explains:
“There are three particular problems.
“We liaise very closely with the Trust because of the potential impact of noise, dust and vibration on the existing elderly patients whose ward we are literally building on top of, beside, and underneath.
“We assessed this in advance and used Lindapter fixings, which clamp onto the steelwork, reducing the need for drilling and vibration.”
“Secondly, apart from potential disruption, the privacy of the patients was something we looked at given the number of faces outside their windows. Although they have blinds, we were asked to apply a film across their windows so that people working outside cannot see in.”
The team’s third challenge is safety. Says Matthew:
“Because the site is bordered on three sides access comes from one direction only. The entrance is opposite the main car park so there are patients and staff walking across the perimeter of our operations and delivery area as construction vehicles arrive. This is potentially hazardous.
“We created walkways to steer pedestrians in the right direction safely and a temporary entrance for them too. We posted a man inside and a man outside the site, guiding deliveries and also helping to steer pedestrians and visitors away from potential hazards. Gates are locked unless admitting vehicles.
“We also created a tarmacked mini road to allow our deliveries a safe drop off point and access to the works.”