COMMENT | Offsite construction key to delivering fast-track healthcare

Michael HartleyFor the healthcare industry, which is increasingly under pressure with bed demand, offsite construction can unlock fast delivery of critical wards, writes David Hartley of MTX.

The Government has declared its intention to deliver ‘Project Speed’, including a £3bn capital investment into the NHS. Fast-track wards like that at Hereford County Hospital are key to this programme. Part of the government initiative ‘to build better, to build greener, to build faster’, the new ward extension is being delivered using MTX’s fast-track construction methods that reduce the build time by up to 50%.

The £12m project is now close to completion, with a total of 72 extra beds across 3 state-of-the-art wards, all in just 11 months.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited the site last month to see the construction for himself. He described the project as the “first of the 20 new hospital upgrades that this government has embarked on… The beginning of a record programme of investment in our NHS.”

For this project, the building is largely built off-site in a factory, then transported and craned into position. This not only means we can deliver buildings much faster, but we can produce 60% less waste, ensure safer construction sites and all to the same standard and quality as a traditionally built hospital.

Hereford Piece 1

The new three-storey building will house a 24-bed ward on each floor with a top floor plantroom. It will link into the existing hospital street at ground floor level and the wards will comprise of multi-function bed bays alongside single bed accommodation. MTX will also deliver ancillary accommodation such as assessment rooms and staff bases, to support the new wards. Two pre-cast lift shafts and two sets of accommodation staircases have also been provided for access and each ward has its own dedicated and welcoming reception.

Hereford Piece 3

The site team were excited talk the Prime Minister through the benefits of rapid construction methods. We believe that using fast-track methods is the best way to minimise the time spent on site, causing less noise and disruption, whilst still delivering a high quality, energy-efficient solution.

With ‘Project Speed’ well underway, described by Johnson as “the most radical reforms of our planning system since the end of the second world war”, there is a need to offset the economic impact of the pandemic, and offsite construction is leading the way to delivering on Boris’ promises.

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  • David Hartley is managing director of MTX, a privately owned, Cheshire-based healthcare construction company

Catch David on the Place Podcast special episode covering modern methods of construction

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