Date of release: 11 March 2021
The two new wards at The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust have won a construction industry award after being erected in double-quick time. The new modular wards, which opened in July and cost around £10 million, won the Construction Project of the Year award as part of the Insider West Midlands Property Awards 2020. The buildings were constructed in just 12 weeks by Darwin, the main contractors, together with William Gough Limited. Normally this type of project would have taken around 10 months to complete.
The new buildings, named C14 and C26, are both 27-bedded respiratory wards scaling a combined total of 1,744 square metres. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, C14 was identified as a ‘green’ or COVID-19 negative ward for respiratory / medical patients and C26 as the ‘red’ (COVID-19 positive) ward, which can deliver CPAP (non-invasive ventilation) to assist patients’ breathing. On both wards, bed space areas are greater to accommodate enhanced infection prevention for all practices. A generous donation of £50,000 from the Wolves Foundation, raised by ex-players, former managers and supporters, helped equip the new wards. Both wards have been at full capacity since opening.
Dr Jonathan Odum, the Trust’s Chief Medical Officer, said: “The new modular wards are a great asset to the respiratory directorate. All 27 beds on each ward have optimal bed space capacity with en-suite facilities which enables privacy and dignity for each of our patients, and provides an enhanced environment for patients and staff to deliver safe and compassionate care. In addition we have plenty of space for the vital equipment required. Air changes on the ward are greater than a standard ward which offers greater protection to our staff and patients.”
Darwin and the Trust’s Estates Team had to overcome many challenges during construction. Those included a race against time as COVID-19 cases rose, building on a severely sloping site in a landlocked space where ground conditions weren’t ideal, the requirement of unique foundation design and installation, limitations on building materials following the introduction of Government lockdown measures, off-site construction of modular components and subsequent delivery, access and overnight installation. Coupled with this was the challenge of working in a live hospital environment with rotational shift patterns to allow 24/7 working patterns to complete the work as quickly as possible. Here is a link to the time-lapse construction: https://youtu.be/qoEFI_q1ddg
In the Construction Project of the Year category won by the Trust, the NEC Nightingale Hospital was highly commended, while University of Birmingham Teaching and Learning Building and Wolverhampton Interchange were shortlisted.
Stew Watson, Head of Estates Development Department at the Trust, said: “From the moment we first considered this emerging proposal, we broke new boundaries in adopting fast-track building techniques. We did this by using local suppliers, adopting new ways of development, working closely with the design and contracting teams together with clinical staff to ensure we were able to deliver a facility that met emerging COVID-19 design guidance, clinical need, infection prevention measures and value for money. We are proud of the finished product and it was pleasing to see the new award-winning facilities providing care to patients immediately on completion.”
Charles Pierce, Managing Director at Darwin Group, added: “We are honoured to have received the award. As a modular builder and a West Midlands-based company, the project we delivered was very close to our hearts. I’d like to thank The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust and give a special mention to the healthcare staff at New Cross Hospital, whose tireless hard work has helped so many during these unprecedented times.”
Notes to Editor
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