Grange University Hospital: How MMC is shaping hospital building for the better.23.03.21
A new critical care hospital was opened to patients in November 2020, four months ahead of schedule with 50% of the building having been made available to the NHS in April 2020, a whole year ahead of schedule. And in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
Laing O’Rourke has been at the forefront of developing modern methods of construction in the UK and our successes on The Grange University Hospital really does show what this approach is capable of.
The Grange University Hospital in Gwent, South East Wales will provide complex critical care to an area with over 600,000 people in it. Laing O’Rourke, in collaboration with international property consultancy Gleeds, completed work on the 560-bed hospital in November of 2020, handing the building over with no defects.
Working closely with the NHS Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, which will manage the 560-bed hospital, we were able to complete the hospital four months ahead of schedule because of the flexibility and reliability of build afforded by our Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA) approach.
Until now, most hospital building in the UK has been using construction techniques more familiar with the Victorians – building brick-by-brick from ground up, on site, with a less stable workforce.
By working with the client and a trusted design team at the earliest stage possible, the hospital was first built digitally. This allowed the project team to test the designs and the buildability of the hospital; to plan the logistics and even come up with a schedule of how the cranes would operate across the site throughout the four year programme.
With the digital designs developed, the models could feed into the construction manufacturing requirements of the project. Moving much of the precast construction to our Centre of Excellence for Modern Construction in Nottinghamshire, and our MEP systems to our building services manufacturing facility in Oldbury, we have been able to remove many of the uncertainties that these traditional build methods present. In controlled factory settings we can quality check the components before they arrive on site, allowing our on site technicians to concentrate on assembling the hospital.
DfMA has allowed us to reduce the time it takes us to build complex structures and the factory-built approach, which is overseen by our highly skilled digital and construction engineers, also means that we have a greater degree of certainty about how many parts we can produce in any given week, meaning construction schedules are more closely adhered to.
At The Grange University Hospital, the results speak for themselves and the experience gained here will help develop a blueprint for future hospital delivery.
Responding to a crisis
During March 2020, Aneurin Bevan University Health Board asked us to scale up construction of the hospital to provide extra hospital capacity as part of its Covid-19 preparedness plans. Our ability to accelerate construction instantly meant that four weeks later, 50% of the hospital was ready for use, should it have been needed. The completed section of the hospital was segmented from the areas still under construction, which meant that the site team was able to safely continue working. It also meant:
- Additional capacity for up to 350 patients was provided to the NHS during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic
- The DfMA approach saved 237,099 working hours, equivalent to a 23% overall planned programme saving
- 821 precast columns were installed, representing an 85% working hours saving
- 1,200 precast wall modules were installed, representing a 95% working hours saving
Rory Pollock, Healthcare Sector Lead, from Laing O’Rourke, said:
“Laing O’Rourke has been at the forefront of developing modern methods of construction in the UK and our successes on The Grange University Hospital really does show what this approach is capable of.
“At the request of Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, we worked with Gleeds to provide extra NHS capacity to the region during an extremely serious public health emergency by accelerating the construction of the hospital. That’s something we simply couldn’t have done even 10 years ago.
“After delivering 50% of the hospital a year ahead of schedule, we didn’t lose our focus and knew that we needed to maintain delivery of the rest of the hospital by Autumn of 2020 – four months ahead of the overall schedule.
“The acceleration of the project has allowed us to examine how future hospital builds could be delivered with a reduced and more predictable build time; maintaining quality and delivering certainty to our clients. These are benefits we’ve been pointing out are possible for years, and we’re pleased to be able to prove them in practice.”
“The UK is about to embark on one of its most significant hospital programmes in decades, with the UK Government promising to deliver up to 40 new projects in England alone by the end of this decade. These are ambitious plans and it is clear to us that any serious effort to reach this target will require the speed and certainty that DfMA provides.”
precast columns were installed, representing an 85% working hours saving
precast wall modules were installed, representing a 95% working hours saving
working hours saved by the DfMA approach