London & South East

Contractors rise to the challenge on healthcare project

BracknellAn immensely challenging £14.2 million project to deliver a Healthspace healthcare facility at Eastern Gate, Brants Bridge, Bracknell has been successfully completed by BAM Construction, bringing a wide range of medical services closer to home for many people.

The project was carried out for the Royal Berkshire Hospital, Reading. Architects were Aedas, Project Managers and Mechanical and Electrical Consultants were McBains Cooper and Structural Consultants were Airey & Cole.

The Healthspace includes GP and dental services, diagnostics, outpatients, x-ray, physiotherapy, podiatry, mental health and sexual health services, an urgent care centre and an alternative to A&E for minor injuries and ailments such as sprains, stings and fever. It is expected that the centre will be used by thousands of patients a year.Bracknell

The new facility was created through the conversion of a of three storey office block with basement car parking.

The scheme was a challenging one for the project team due to the fact that works on the project originally commenced in early 2009, but were stopped due to financial issues. Works re-commenced in late October 2009, with very little progress having been made by the client to either finalise their brief or to provide the necessary back-up required to finalise the brief.

This had a major adverse knock-on effect on the design team’s ability to provide design and working drawings in both a timely and fully detailed manner.  Therefore an effective start date was not achieved until end of March 2010.

The resulting pressure on the BAM team to meet the stringent demands of both the cost plan and programme, were immense, but due to continuous cost monitoring, design reviews and with an extremely flexible approach by BAM and their subcontractors, works maintained the necessary momentum and against all odds, the programme was achieved.Bracknell

Internal works to the building included the stripping out all of original partitions, service cores and risers, and services, including all major plant within existing roof voids.

New plant rooms were then formed within the roof space, along with the formation of all new service risers (with these works including cutting/forming large service holes through structural floors). The provision of accommodation for the building’s new departments, including Renal, Chemotherapy, Extended Chemotherapy, Imaging (including CT Scanner and X Ray) comprised the installation of new services, partitions, ceilings, vinyl floors and fitting out.

Another element of the scheme involved enclosing a previously ‘open’ quadrangle with structural steelwork and glazed roofing to provide a reception area with an internal atrium.Bracknell

External works on the scheme included the provision of a linear accelerator bunker, including fitting out as part of the Cancer Care Department. Other external works involved taking up and re-laying paving to new falls to suit the building’s changed usage and ensure DDA compliance.

Demands for a multi-purpose ‘one-stop shop’ for health in the centre of Bracknell offering an extended range of services was one of the key themes to emerge from the local Right Care, Right Place public consultation which finished in 2008.Bracknell Healthspace

NELCO Worldwide

NELCO Worldwide is the market leader in radiation shielding in the US and throughout the world. Their parent company is American but they have a UK registered company set up two years ago to serve the European market.

They design, manufacture and install a complete line of shielding products, providing solutions for both large and small facilities.

On the Bracknell Healthspace project, they were responsible for the design, manufacture and construction of the Radiotherapy bunker. The work was completed ahead of time and handed over ready for the final finishes. After the works were complete, they completed a successful radiation survey with the hospitals physics group.

Keith Larkin from NELCO Worldwide said:

“The technique that we employ is something that builders we have worked with in the past have really liked. It’s fast and removes risks for them in terms of getting it done right and on time. Quite often we can take the bunker – a major part of building process– out of the critical path so they can carry on with their work whilst we work on the bunker. It’s risk free from the builders’ point of view and is also very cost effective.”

For more information on NELCO Worldwide, visit

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