The hospital provides sick children with a range of services including specialist care, inpatient surgical and day services. The aim of the purpose-built extension is to help reduce waiting times improving the patient experience.
The extension sits on top of the ground floor of Cork University Hospital and has created six, six-bed wards and 15 single bedrooms with a total 1600m² of additional floor space as well as several link corridors, improving hospital circulation.
The new paediatric wing was completed in June 2015 and took just 26 weeks to construct onsite. Modular methods of construction meant that 80% of the programme took place offsite, reducing onsite construction by a significant number of weeks compared with traditional methods.
Matthew Goff, UK Operations Director at Actavo Building Solutions, says: “The capabilities of offsite more than match traditional build. Patient wards, theatres, A&E departments and cleanrooms can all be designed, built and delivered in weeks using modular methods of construction, reducing the need for interim short-term hire.
“For the first time, many healthcare establishments like Cork University Hospital are considering offsite construction because of its cost-effective nature and the efficiency it provides.
“When you build offsite, you plan and construct with meticulous precision. Enabling works happen in parallel with the building’s construction which is manufactured in a high quality-controlled environment. It takes strategic thinking and rigorous coordination but the prize is minimal disruption which is particularly key in the acute care environment.
“In a hospital setting, one’s construction team must remain vigilant in following strict infection control protocols. We ensure that particular attention is afforded to controlling the spread of dust, especially where immune-deficient patients are being treated or are recovering.”
The Cork University Hospital extension was difficult to reach as it is located above a working ward within a courtyard and with limited road access.
Tony McNamara, Chief Executive Officer of Cork University Hospital Group, says: “We are very happy with the new unit. With limited space and a requirement to keep noise and traffic disruption to a minimum, a modular building was the ideal solution for the high-tech unit to be put in place while the existing paediatric department is being refurbished and extended.
“Our patients and staff were not disturbed during the build, which was a key reason we went with a modular offsite build, in that 80% of the construction, down to first fixes, was completed off the hospital campus, and it was then placed on top of our outpatients department.”
Actavo Building Solutions’ design also mirrored the existing external brick slip front, so the extension was aesthetically-attuned with the rest of the hospital.
Environmental design features included measures to support both air-tightness and sound insulation. Actavo Building Solutions also fitted a pneumatic drug circulation system to both the new and existing building.
Helen Cahalane, Assistant Director of Nursing at Cork University Hospital, says: “Our staff are delighted with the bright, spacious facilities that the unit provides which incorporates a homely design for our patients and their families with children’s artwork lining the snow-white corridors.
“We were able to move right in with our existing furniture and equipment and we will be able to move back out and let the building to the next department move in. It was like a seamless jigsaw coming together.”
Modular buildings can now be built to most specifications – BREEAM, PassivHaus or AECB. However, where offsite comes into its own is the cost-saving achieved through speed of delivery – sometimes up to 50% quicker than traditional build – which positively impacts on bed availability.
Matthew continues: “Modular build is making the construction industry safer due to shorter construction and build times, as well as the buildings being manufactured in more quality-controlled environments. These factors combine to make it easier for hospitals – such as Cork University Hospital – to plan and re-direct resources.”
Roan Building Solutions, together with a larger group of companies including Roankabin, Deborah Services, EventServ, Sierra, PDC and Siteserv Access & Formwork, have come together as Actavo – one unified team of 4,500 people, operating globally in over 100 locations.