384 extra beds now available at The Grange University Hospital

Contractors bring forward opening of part of new hospital building to help support COVID-19 efforts

The team behind the construction of the new Grange University Hospital in Wales have handed over a number of completed wards ahead of schedule to help the health board with pressures it faces from the coronavirus outbreak

Aneurin Bevan University Health Board now has 384 extra beds available and ready for patients should they be needed during the coronavirus outbreak.

Contractors building the new Grange University Hospital at Llanfrechfa, Cwmbran, handed over a number of finished ward areas this week, months ahead of schedule.

Laing O’Rourke and Gleeds worked around the clock to get the extra capacity at the new hospital ready in just four weeks.

Fortunately the health board has not yet seen the surge in cases it expected so the beds do not need to be opened at present.

Health board chief executive, Judith Paget, said: “At the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak we needed to plan for the worst-case scenario.

“And I would like to thank Laing O’Rourke and Gleeds for the great amount of effort and skill they have shown to get these areas of the hospital ready for us to use.

Our motivation to deliver key parts of The Grange University Hospital for use a year ahead of schedule has been driven by our determination to provide vital NHS facilities and to support all those working in the NHS

“Thankfully, the general public have observed the advice on staying at home and social distancing, so we don't need to open the extra beds just yet.”

Mike Lewis, Laing O’Rourke project director, added: "Aneurin Bevan University Hospital Board had the foresight to ask us to bring our construction programme forward, creating 384 bed spaces as part of its preparations to tackle coronavirus in Wales.

“Our motivation to deliver key parts of The Grange University Hospital for use a year ahead of schedule has been driven by our determination to provide vital NHS facilities and to support all those working in the NHS, to whom we owe so much."

And Victoria Head, project director at Gleeds, told BBH: "Since its inception The Grange University Hospital project has always had a true collaborative ethos at its heart - working together for a shared goal, and we've stuck to that, proudly tackling every challenge to complete the hospital in record time by adopting a solution-based approach.

The extensive use of offsite fabrication, and Laing O’Rourke’s construction management and delivery, have helped to ensure the buildings can open ahead of schedule while work continues to finish the remaining facilities

"With the best will in the world, fundamentally had this been a traditional build with the same start date we would not have been in a position to offer support to this national pandemic and the NHS.

“We've always been proud of the modern methods of construction (MMC) involved at The Grange University Hospital and the programme savings which it offered compared to a traditional build, but never have the benefits been more apparent than during this crisis."

Since its inception The Grange University Hospital project has always had a true collaborative ethos at its heart - working together for a shared goal, and we've stuck to that, proudly tackling every challenge to complete the hospital in record time by adopting a solution-based approach

The Cardiff and Bristol-based studios of global architecture practice, BDP, have also supported the project.

Adrian Hitchcock, lead architect for The Grange University Hospital at BDP architects, said: “We are pleased to have supported Aneurin Bevan University Health Board and Laing O’Rourke in bringing forward the completion of wards at The Grange University Hospital to help in Wales’s battle against COVID-19.

“Our design concept means the hospital was divided into three distinct zones, which could be progressed with a degree of autonomy from one another.

“Together with the extensive adoption of offsite fabrication, and Laing O’Rourke’s exemplary construction management and delivery, this approach has helped to make early opening possible, if required.”

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