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    Modular buildings to meet the needs of the healthcare sector?

    Modular buildings to meet the needs of the healthcare sector?

    In a market where shortages exist, building standards are extremely high. Sustainability, comfort and infection control are all important but budgets are tight. Modular construction needs to be a part of the solution. The offsite industry can build for any sector, for any client, and boasts three main advantages; flexibility, quality and speed. From increasing the space in emergency departments and same day emergency care to improving the facilities and bringing them up to date. The healthcare sector can benefit greatly, but how?

    Matthew Goff, Managing Director at Thurston Group, explains.

    At Thurston Group we manufacture modular and portable buildings through modern methods of construction. With modular construction most manufacturers are able to build to customers’ exact requirements. The healthcare sector needs flexibility as not every project is the same. Some clients will need multiple buildings making up a large hospital complex, while others may need an extension of their current facilities. We can work with clients on designs that integrate with their current building or entirely new designs for brand new buildings.

    Utilising the use of BIM and a controlled offsite manufacturing process, modular buildings are built to a much higher standard than traditional methods. Buildings are monitored throughout the build through a strict quality control process to provide durable, lifetime buildings. Nothing leaves our factory unless it’s signed off and approved.

    Modular construction times are up to 50% quicker than traditional methods too. In a matter of weeks, we delivered a flat-pack style ward for Tameside General Hospital, increasing the hospital’s critical care capacity during the covid-19 pandemic. Due to the speed in which the numbers of seriously-ill people were growing, hospitals around the country were filling up fast and needed relief. Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust needed a brand new intensive care unit (ICU) quickly to cope with the numbers of people needing treatment and with a seven-week timeframe, only modular could deliver.

    We were given the brief in March 2020 by Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust. This project was critical to the hospital’s ability to support the region with ventilated bedspace.

    The first phase, a 10-bed ward facility was delivered within an incredible seven weeks. Followed by a A&E reception extension along with a linkway corridor to be operational within a short timeframe and with minimum disruption to the day to day running of the hospital. As much as 90% of our buildings are manufactured offsite in a controlled environment, reducing construction traffic and noise in a sensitive health environment. Meaning that healthcare facilities and hospitals can maintain their care standards, whilst expanding facilities to coordinate an emergency response.

    The new respiratory ward that formed phase one of the project, included a brand new nurses station, staff room, accessible showers and toilets as well as the extra ten ventilated bed bays. It also included laundry and utility rooms as well as a one way entry/exit floor plan with sliding doors leading to the existing building. The new ICU ward had a capacity for ten beds and was built offsite and craned in ready to house seriously-ill covid-19 patients.

    Phase two, saw the delivery of an A&E reception extension to aid the hospital’s social distancing capacity. The modular units were installed in a tight courtyard with less than 25mm tolerances next to the existing building, providing numerous challenges from a design and installation perspective, which were all able to be overcome, with clear communication channels throughout.

    Phase three combined all these new modular buildings together with the existing hospital building.

    Anything that can be assembled offsite, like staff rooms, toilets and shower areas, was completed at the factory, inside each of the module’s for delivery. The module’s were then loaded and delivered to the hospital on the back of multiple lorries, where a 200-tonne crane then lifted these into place and joined them together like one big giant jigsaw.

    Despite being installed adjacent to the main A&E entrance for the hospital, the project was completed without disrupting the hospital’s ability to care for the region. We’ve managed to deliver successfully, despite operating during a global pandemic everything from vaccination centres to support the vaccine rollout, to these hospital extensions and numerous testing centres across the country.

    Modular can definitely meet the needs of the Healthcare sector, we’ve been delivering to the sector for over 40 years. Our portable and modular buildings meet all NHS guidelines, including HTM and HBN requirements, and with over 50 years of experience, you can save both time and money coming to us, now even more since we’ve secured various positions on the NHS SBS – MB2 Framework.

    Our team really understood the value of speed when mobilising at very short notice to deliver an emergency ICU ward, various testing centres and vaccination centres to support the UK’s fight against covid-19. Everyone at Thurston Group wants to thank the people of the NHS, who are doing so much for our people and country. They are the true frontline heroes with our teams doing their best to support them.