IHEEM Annual Conference told of benefits of construction technologies
Construction technologies and innovations are helping NHS designers to deliver buildings that are fit for the future against a backdrop of dwindling capital funds, delegates at this year’s IHEEM Annual Conference heard.
We are all doing something slightly differently. Instead, let’s all do it the same way
Building Information Modelling – or BIM; the Repeatable Rooms initiative; and standardised products are all having a huge impact on how hospitals are being designed, their performance, and the overall cost.
Speakers at the Institute of Healthcare Engineering & Estate Management’s annual event in Manchester last week included Cliff Jones, Department of Health framework lead for the ProCure22 framework.
He said: “It’s about using data to improve the estate.
“We are all doing something slightly differently. Instead, let’s all do it the same way.
“If we are doing it slightly differently, then how many variations are there that go right through the supply chain? And how can anyone keep up with it?”
And, while BIM has taken a while to get a foothold in the healthcare market, the impact can be huge. Jones added: “It’s all about the common need.
The ProCure framework has delivered a number of efficiencies
“BIM documents are massive, but I believe in what it can deliver, even though I’m not a BIM guy.
“Consultation is not an easy process, particularly when building a healthcare building. If we can reduce risk through BIM then we reduce the capital we have to put in to cover that risk.
You need to be very clear what is needed and it needs to be sold at a very-senior level and on the benefits of clinical vision
“And, if you lock energy efficiency in right in at the start, you get the benefits when a building is operational.”
The conference also heard how the ProCure22 framework, and the previous interations, ProCure21 and ProCure21+, are hugely successful in making people think differently about design.
In particular, the Repeatable Rooms and Standardised Component streams are having a major impact on cost and delivery.
Martha McSweeney is behind much of this work in her role at ProCure22 principal supply chain partner, Galliford Try.
She said the initiatives were continually evolving, offering specifiers a choice while ensuring economies of scale.
She told delegates: “We are bringing in new products and suppliers to the repeatable rooms and standardised component streams all the time, and putting in feedback from projects we have undertaken.
“We have 33 suppliers and 15 standard components and quite a few have been added recently, such as mental health furniture, built-in furniture, and wall and door protection. We have also retendered product categories and have added additional suppliers.
“Moving forward, we are looking at renewing even more categories and are looking at new categories such as partitions and theatre lighting.”
Giving examples of how these initiatives can impact positively on developments, she said that, during the construction of a new £21.5m A&E department at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Gateshead, a £324,000 saving was made on purchasing sanitaryware through the standardised components framework. A smaller saving of £10,500 was made during the development of a new £4.5m child and adolescent mental health unit in Cornwall using the same framework.
“Across all potential projects and all product categories, we could make a huge saving,” said McSweeney.
“As well as upfront savings, it’s about added value and efficiencies.
“Some products can bring about clinical efficiencies, such as infection prevention and control or safety, or can positively impact the patient environment. It’s about looking at all of these and where they could be used.”
Across all potential projects and all product categories, we could make a huge saving
Usually reserved for relatively-low-cost primary care developments and smaller acute sector refurbishment schemes; the ProCure framework was recently utilised for the redevelopment of Chase Farm Hospital in North London.
And it enabled the hospital to be delivered in just 48 months from concept to handover – a feat virtually unheard of for such a major project.
Alan Kondys of construction partner, IHP, said of the project: “This is a 23,000sq m hospital which transforms patient pathways and includes a huge energy centre and housing for staff and the community.
“The project was conceived in July 2014 and in July 2018 we handed it over. The heavy construction period was as little as six months.
“Normally it would take a decade to deliver a scheme of this size and complexity.
“It was about ownership and keeping a focus on the destination and a view of time.
“Using standard components and repeatable rooms, we made savings of £3m and overdelivered on energy reduction.”
Also built into the design of the hospital is the flexibility to double the size of the building if needed in the future.
“We are very proud of this project and it is an example of what can be achieved with a focused team,” said Kondys
Also speaking of the virtues of the framework was Keith Hayes of GRAHAM Construction. He told the conference: “It helps to gain a long-term understanding of what works for all parties and how we can bring greater efficiency from a limited capital budget.
“If you batch projects together and engage early in the process, you can make it work.
“Using ProCure22 gives much-greater cost certainty and it is highly flexible.
“We are delivering a lot of minor works, but have managed to get very good outcomes.
“Most of the time, it’s not sexy work, not big hospitals, but it does deliver results.”
And Julian Calaco of Galliford Try added: “You need to be very clear what is needed and it needs to be sold at a very-senior level and on the benefits of clinical vision.
“ProCure22 increases operational efficiencies and simplifies the construction period.
“We can start moving forward now in ernest, building a much-more-high-quality and sustainable healthcare estate for the future.”