Whiston Building, Whiston Hospital

The project included major hospital redevelopment to both Whiston & St Helens Hospitals for St Helens & Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.

Part of the re-development of the Whiston Hospital was the refurbishment of the 75,000m2 Whiston Building. The Trust’s desire to retain the existing building and refurbish it set RPS a number of challenges; to support new departments with a higher servicing demand than the existing, to work to a fast programme, a demanding budget and to importantly provide excellent healing environments.

Natural ventilation was provided to the in-patient areas, which has recognised benefits in contributing to patient well-being, whilst minimising both capital cost and operational and cost and also reduced the hospitals energy and carbon usage.

In order to achieve this, a modular construction approach with the use of prefabrication was successfully employed. The design employed the ‘repeatable rooms’ concept. These rooms were identified as:

A room that occurs more than five times in the hospital and which is not unique to a single department

A room that is exactly the same size and shape wherever it occurs throughout the hospital

A total of 4000 of the 7500 rooms in the two hospitals were able to be considered repeatable. This allowed a high level of standardisation of components. On a traditionally procured project, a length of ventilation ductwork might be progressively reduced in size depending on internal flow rates. At Whiston, ductwork is single-size wherever technically feasible as it is more cost effective to buy one size, and faster to work with when assembling modules.

In order to maintain the programme and allow the off-site fabrication, the build required an accelerated design programme and working in a different sequence to standard on-site construction. An integrated approach with the other design team members and construction team enabled the project to be completed 6 months in advance of the planned completion date.

Image: courtesy of VINCI Facilities