Neonatal Intensive Care Centre, Clwyd

A new facility for world-class care

Working on a difficult site within an existing hospital, BAM has created a purpose-built unit with 20 cots for sick and premature babies

Delivering effective intensive care services for the most vulnerable and premature babies is a highly specialised operation. In North Wales, the purpose-built Sub-Regional Neonatal Intensive Care Centre (SurNICC) – completed by BAM in Autumn 2018 – is a world-class facility that delivers on NHS Wales’ key strategic priorities, including securing a healthy future for the next generation.

Previously, local parents had been faced with the prospect of very sick and premature babies as young as 26 weeks being transported over the border to specialist facilities in the Wirral. 

Project details

  • Customer: Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB)
  • Main contractor: BAM Construction
  • Architect: IBI Group
  • Structural engineer: Curtins
  • M&E consultants: Hoare Lee
  • M&E contractor: Lorne Stewart

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BREEAM Fact icon Very Good rating
96 Fact icon weeks completed by 9 local apprentices on the project
142,000 Fact icon hours worked on site with no accidents
The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health had recommended centralising neonatal services in North Wales, and the First Minister approved the site for the SurNICC in 2014. BAM started work on the unit in October 2016, on a difficult and tightly constrained site: a courtyard within the existing Glan Clwyd hospital, surrounded by operational wards and offices. 

The new unit provides 20 intensive care cots for the most poorly and pre-term infants, including high-dependency and isolation beds. The project also included accommodation for clinical staff and parents.
Ysbyty Glan Clwyd is a major A&E hospital in North Wales, in a semi-rural location mid-way between Chester and Bangor. BAM created the new-build, steel framed SurNICC unit in one of the hospital’s courtyards, having first demolished a small chapel and a first-floor link bridge. 

Driven by users’ needs

During the design phase of the project, a series of workshops allowed stakeholders to envisage how the new unit might ‘flow’ and to explore the opportunities and challenges associated with arranging complex clinical facilities on a constrained site with predetermined access points. Full size mock‐ups of cot bay layouts proved helpful to users in visualising space requirements.

Stakeholders also visited other recent neonatal units in Northern England to get feedback from users: both in terms of operational lessons learned and how they planned their physical space. BAM incorporated this feedback into the final design for the scheme.

Working on a live hospital site

Part of the project involved remodelling existing accommodation in the Paediatric and Maternity units. The SurNICC seamlessly connects to the Maternity delivery unit and the general circulation corridors that feed other areas of the hospital.
One of the biggest challenges for the project team was that the work had to be carried out in a live setting, without disrupting the day-to-day running of the hospital. The project was divided into three phases to minimise disturbance.

For example, BAM was not allowed to carry out intrusive surveys on the site, due to the highly sensitive nature of live clinical areas. So the surveys were completed in small sections, and only when these areas were free from patients.

Most of the works on the existing building involved bringing subcontractors, equipment and materials through live wards. Clinical staff also had to be able to access all areas during the build. This was unavoidable – due to the nature of the site – but it was all managed and meticulously planned with key stakeholders and ward staff.
Work would often be taking place next to a live operating theatre, birthing room or doctor’s study. So noise levels had to be assessed and monitored at all times – especially during the demolition phases – and measures were put into place to eliminate or mitigate the effects of noise, dust and vibration.

BAM adopted a ‘lean’ approach, where materials were measured before they were transported: leading to a reduction in waste or surplus materials that might have to be transported back through the hospital once a job was finished. 

With numerous different personnel coming and going to work on site for the various contractors involved, the BAM project team and the hospital management also worked closely together to ensure security and confidentiality. 

Committed to sustainability

Environmental issues and sustainability were key elements of this project. 

For example, with many works taking place very close to live wards, eliminating air pollution was a key concern. All windows and doors were sealed and negative pressure equipment, tacky floor mats and disposable clothing were used to prevent any contamination of clinical and ward areas.

Having set itself a target to recycle 85% of demolition waste, the BAM team actually managed 92%. And a total of 465.5 tonnes of waste generated by the entire scheme was ultimately diverted from landfill.

The project team also provided volunteer labour and equipment for gardening and planting at the house used by parents and families staying with sick children at the hospital (run by the charity Tŷ-Croeso).

“The new facilities will help our neonatal team ensure poorly and premature babies, and their families, continue to receive outstanding care in North Wales for many years to come.”

Mandy Cooke

Neonatal Service Manager