Modern Methods Of Construction For Our Health Service

At the start of lockdown Arcadis put together a piece on the need to provide modular solutions to speed up the building of healthcare facilities.

For over two decades we have delivered on the country’s leading healthcare facilities from proton beam therapy units and urgent care centres to pathology laboratories and fracture clinics, and everything in between!

In this time we have worked on all forms of modular construction and off-site fabrication processes – many of which have been built on innovative ideas. What is critical to any modular solution is the ability to provide a balance between the delivery of sophisticated and complex sites and their commercial viability.

Modular solutions and modern methods of construction are an affordable and sustainable way of delivering new facilities quickly but they do come in all shapes and sizes and span more than just the skin of the building.  What is important is that the risks of a potential development failing can only be understood when they are thoroughly investigated from the ground up. The engineer is critical to this proces.

Many experts know that one solution will not fit all, which is why it’s important when considering prefabrication of building structure elements and modular systems that we outline the primary drivers for the facility early in the process. At CampbellReith, together with the design team we truly add value through our experience of working with different methods and systems. Our projects have ranged from full modular superstructures to prefabricated precast columns, twin walls and floor systems, and integrated modular services. Our clients are often experiencing these new construction solutions for the first time, so we know that early engagement with main contractors is vital to gain the benefits of quality design, commercial viability and speed of delivery for these projects.

When is a traditional construction model not appropriate?

One example where we were able to utilise prefabricated modular services cassettes within reinforced concrete shielding was at the University College London Hospital Proton Therapy Centre.

Here it was vital to accurately coordinate the extensive services for such a complex facility. The component services of the scheme had to be pre-fabricated in units, which could be more readily installed within the reinforcement of 2-4m thick concrete shielding walls and slabs.

Pre-cast reinforced twin walls were used in a large portion of the concrete shear walls from basement level to five storeys above street level to speed erection and reduce the extent of formwork on site. Due to the sheer nature and complexity of the scheme, traditional modular units would not have been suitable, but using different methods of modern construction can allow advantages to be realised.

Providing vital services for the NHS when they need it

At University Hospital Lewisham we have assisted in the design of the sub-structure for more traditional modular stacked units. These have been incredibly beneficial to the wider hospital estate, providing vital critical services like operating theatres, in-patient wards and MRI units, to expand quickly to meet the changing needs of the hospital trust.

University Hospital Lewisham has been a client of CampbellReith’s for many years and through our familiarity of the site, we have been able to assist in designing new foundations or in some cases utilising redundant existing foundations from historic buildings on the site that were previously demolished.

Like Arcadis, we see the need for those providing construction solutions of this type so that the NHS and the Government can deliver on the 40 new hospitals needed but that they can be designed to the highest standards and you need to get us in early!