Construction News

Wed June 03 2020

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More contractors join field hospital push

8 Apr Kier, Vinci and Sir Robert McAlpine have joined the roster of contractors called on to help the rapid build of emergency field hospitals to help the NHS cope with the Covid-19 emergency.

The Scottish Events Campus is being converted into a temporary hospital
The Scottish Events Campus is being converted into a temporary hospital

Up and down the UK, exhibition halls and conference centres are being turned into temporary filed hospitals, brands Nightingale hospitals in England.

First to open was NHS Nightingale London in the Excel Centre, where there is capacity for 4,000 beds, thanks to the work of main contractor CFES and a host of other suppliers, including Mace, BDP, Hoare Lea, ISS, Mitie and Wilson James.

Other emergency field hospitals are being created in Birmingham, Manchester, Cardiff, Swansea, Glasgow, Belfast, Bristol and Harrogate.

Manchester Central Convention Complex is being converted into a temporary hospital by Integrated Health Projects – the joint venture between Vinci Construction UK and Sir Robert McAlpine under the Department of Health’s ProCure22 framework.

The entire main Central Hall at Manchester Central – 10,000 m2 in total – has been designated as bed space.

NHS Nightingale Hospital North West, as it is called, has capacity for 1,000 beds across 17,000 m2. Work started on Saturday 28 March and is already nearing completion, due to open on 12th April.

John Roberts, regional managing director of Vinci Construction, said: “It’s been amazing to see how everyone has collaborated in just a matter of days to turn this hospital around.  Everyone’s attitude has been remarkable and I couldn’t be prouder.  We are all focused on getting these beds ready to help save lives”.

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While NHS Wales has secured the Principality Stadium, Cardiff as a temporary field hospital with the capacity to hold up to an additional 2,000 beds, in Kier has begun work converting Bay Studios in Swansea into an 850-bed field hospital.

Working collaboratively with Swansea Council, Kier and local contractor TRJ are building a new structure to house the field hospital inside the existing 11,000 sq m single-tier building. Kier will also improve existing infrastructure within the studio, including heating, electricity and water supplies, so that it will effectively support NHS teams when the space becomes operational. Initially, it will provide 500 beds, with an additional 350 beds following in subsequent weeks. This project was procured through Swansea Council on behalf of the Swansea Bay University Health Board.

Swansea Council leader Rob Stewart said: “This is a massive project because the building has been empty for years and it is a million miles away from what you would expect of a hospital.”

Tracy Myhill, chief executive of Swansea Bay University Health Board, said: “I am grateful and extremely proud of the way we have come together as a region to meet the challenges of this pandemic. There is a real can-do attitude being demonstrated, and people are determined to do everything possible to safeguard our population.”

As previously reported, BAM Construction has been drafted in, through ProCure 22, to create a 500-bed facility within the Harrogate Convention Centre in just 14 days. The professional services team there includes BDP (architect), Silcock Leedham (building services engineering) and Arcadis (quantity surveyor).

Also previously reported, Balfour Beatty, Kier, Robertson and Graham are principal contractors making space for 1,000 beds at the Scottish Events Campus (SEC) in Glasgow. A construction crew of more than 400 is working alongside nearly 150 NHS Scotland clinicians and operational staff to establish NHS Louisa Jordan. Work began on 31st March and within two weeks it will provide an initial 300 beds.

Work in Glasgow includes laying 25,000m² of vinyl flooring, constructing sterile temporary wards, installing and commissioning life-saving oxygen and gas systems, as well as a range of other complex tasks required to repurpose a facility designed for leisure into one for treating patients. Balfour Beatty Kilpatrick is looking after the mechanical and electrical engineering.

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