Wernick Buildings were appointed under a Pre-Contract Services Agreement to design the building through to RIBA Stage 3. After demonstrating they could provide an economically viable, single storey solution, Wernick were formally appointed as principal contractor.
By engaging with a modular provider before producing a design, the hospital were able to work with Wernick to take full advantage of the benefits of modular construction which included maximising the amount of fit out that could take place in the factory to reduce time on site. It also facilitated closer collaboration on the specialist requirements of the building, for example using the hospital’s preferred contractors to provide medical gasses.
Manufacturing the building in a factory environment gave the project several advantages. Firstly, the building could be constructed while the foundations were being prepared, drastically reducing programme length. Manufacture was also not affected by site conditions like the weather, making the programme even more reliable.
The building was comprised of 33 modules, including a unit to link the new wards to an existing building on site. which were manufactured in Wernick’s dedicated factory in Port Talbot. These were transported to site by lorry, then craned into position and bolted together to form the complete building.
While the initial programme was 20 weeks, the outbreak of the coronavirus made the hospital’s requirement more urgent. By implementing longer hours and working weekends, Wernick were able to condense the programme to just 14 weeks.
Determined to deliver the project on time, Wernick worked with their subcontractors and the hospital to devise working methods that would allow them to continue work on site, including strict social distancing measures. These new working methods were communicated through daily briefings and site signage. The closer collaboration early in the process which had minimised the amount of work needed on site also facilitated safer working while maintaining programme. Reduced time on site also meant minimum disruption to the rest of the hospital during this crucial period.
The completed single-story building, delivered on time and on budget, consists of 1000 sqm of gross internal floor space comprising 33 modular units. The fit out includes bedhead trunking incorporating medical gasses, nurse call systems, access control and CCTV, fire escape ramps and nurse stations. Externally, the building is finished to match existing buildings on site.
Kirstie Webb, Head of Estates & Facilities for George Eliot NHS Trust, commented: “Excellent product, finished ahead of time and within budget. This is particularly impressive as it coincided with the Covid-19 pandemic first wave.”