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News Hospital Construction Time-Lapse

10 June 2020 Kate

Hospital construction is key to the nation’s health, from the rapidly created hospitals for the Covid-19 pandemic to the meticulously planned, purpose-designed, permanent builds for the NHS. Hospital construction time-lapse can document all variations of these builds, offering short-term to long-term capture depending on the length and scale of projects.

Hospital Construction time-lapse at NHS Worcestershire Oncology Centre build
Above: Radiotherapy Centre construction at Royal Worcestershire Hospital

How have new hospitals been built so quickly?

Hospital builds have been in the news extensively due to the increased demand for facilities and beds due to Covid-19. This pandemic has brought into the spotlight how efficiently and, most importantly, rapidly solutions can be constructed using off-site, prefabricated and modular solutions. Hospital construction time-lapse has come to the fore to effectively demonstrate the speed with which new healthcare facilities such as the Nightingale Hospitals have emerged.

In Wuhan in took just 10 days to create two new hospitals with a collective bed capacity of nearly 3000. These could be constructed rapidly due to ‘flat pack’, prefabricated solutions. This off-site method had already been tried and tested years earlier to create emergency SARS hospitals. On a solid concrete base, prefabricated three-story buildings were constructed. Modifications were made for the hospital design, including thickening walls to prevent an infection spread.

Above: Coronavirus hospital time-lapse from The Guardian

Around the UK, new hospitals, wings and additional healthcare buildings have also been constructed at super-speed due to the use of modular building. Off-site modular construction has been the key to the successful implementation of additional buildings during the pandemic. Effectively documenting such rapid construction through time-lapse video means that the modular industry is well placed to promote itself for future projects.

Is off-site construction used in normal hospital builds?

Off-site and modular construction is increasingly used in normal hospital builds. This method means the healthcare sector can benefit from a huge reduction in the timescale of a build programme. As construction is often on a live hospital site with limited space, the very-short build programme is of huge benefit to avoid disruption and to get new facilities into action. Using off-site construction, hospitals can maximise fit-out in the factory producing high-quality results, reducing on-site trades, and offering excellent value for money.

For example, some are using larger, bespoke modules, specially engineered to provide a structural floor solution that can be integrated into existing hospital buildings. This removes the need for ramps and steps, keeping an efficient patient flow around the hospital facility. Using a hybrid solution, this method of construction can be integrated into an existing hospital with in-situ building methods seamlessly joining structures.

How are hospitals constructed generally?

Normal hospitals are intended to last a long time and therefore are generally made from traditional building methods such as concrete and steel frames. They take several years to plan and to build, with input from clinicians as well as specialist hospital architects.

As hospitals are designed specifically to efficiently care for patients, lengthy planning is required for new, large hospital facilities such as the Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital. As the first NHS hospital purpose-designed to care for emergency cases, it is the result of 10 years work led by clinical teams. The specialised yet multifunctional construction used an in-situ free-form concrete frame structure as well as custom manufactured steel structural systems and pods to create an efficient build. This £95 million single centre of excellence hospital is aimed to revolutionise health care in the UK.

NHS Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital Construction Time-Lapse video

The North East hospital was one of the lucky few to be designated a new site. Often construction happens at existing hospitals that have limited space. Any additional facilities often need to fit into an existing footprint. This means old redundant buildings face demolition to make way for new units. Hospital demolition needs to be done with extra care as it often occurs on a complex, live site with staff and patients.

This is the case for the demolition of the Waterlow building at Whittington Hospital, central London, where we currently have a camera system set up. Due to limited acreage, demolition of the disused building is required to make way for a new education centre and mental health hospital.

Why use time-lapse videos?

Time-lapse videos play an important role in hospital construction. Visually documenting the on-site build process with high-quality video captures the varying types of hospital construction. It is worthwhile bringing hospital construction into the spotlight, as now more than ever it is seen as imperative to move the NHS forward and to help provide improved healthcare facilities for the nation.

Please contact us for more details and to discuss your next project.

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