Team effort will benefit Belfast community

The first phase of a project to provide vital health services is nearing completion at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast.

As part of a major capital programme to improve health provision across Northern Ireland, the new twelve-storey critical care unit (CCU) will provide essential medical facilities including critical care theatres, accident and emergency treatment and maternity accommodation.

Planning permission was granted in March 2007 and the project began at the end of 2008. With the help of Envirowise, main contractor McLaughlin & Harvey established a supply chain project to work with local suppliers such as Warwick Engineering Ltd, Blackbourne Integrated M&E and McMullen Architects in order to identify areas for improved resource efficiency and environmental performance.

Designed by established architects URS in conjunction with Capita Architecture, the £110 million centre will have the capacity to treat up to 80,000 attendees each year. Almost two-thirds of the Northern Ireland population live within forty minutes travel of the hospital, which is situated only a few minutes drive from Belfast city centre.

Built on a Brownfield site that once belonged to the former Quinn House, the site is surrounded by an eight-storey building that comprises the Eyes, Ears, Nose and Throat (EENT) department, a maternity department and an A-block containing wards and theatres.

The highly modern build features a range of interesting features, including ceramic tiling and extensive glazing.

Charles Stokes, URS, said:

“The design reflects the high-tech nature of the internal clinical functions and the sterile environment that we are trying to create. On levels five and six where the critical care areas are located, an external corridor separates the patients’ families from the staff, therefore reducing the risk of cross contamination.

“We have had to introduce and change three floors of the building from one function to another whilst the building was being constructed, which was obviously a challenge. Although this affected the project somewhat, all problems have been overcome by the hard work of the construction team.

“URS is extremely proud to have been involved in this project, which will bring cost-efficient and high quality health services to the population of Belfast – in the process setting precedence for the rest of Northern Ireland.”

The new CCU also features an innovative new curtain walling system. The aluminum composite panels have a metallic silver finish and are fixed within an extruded aluminum frame. This innovative method of construction allows for the creation of a stunning flush-glazed facade to the building.

McLaughlin & Harvey are committed to the promotion of sustainable projects and as a result, the development has incorporated a range of eco friendly features such as photovoltaic cells and a CHP.

Sam McCloskey, Envirowise Regional Manager for Northern Ireland, said:

“McLaughlin & Harvey is a great example of a company looking at not only its direct impact on the environment, but also the ways in which working with suppliers can reduce the carbon footprint of the entire site and cut costs for all concerned. Sharing ideas and best practice in this way not only boosts the bottom line for the companies involved, but will also help to forge strong business relationships for future years.”


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