Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust required the fast-track conversion of an existing ward into a dedicated, self-contained ward treating patients with Covid-19. The programme was expedited by 25-30% to ensure completion of the works before an anticipated winter surge in additional patients to the hospital.
We were appointed to advise on structural alterations to the existing fabric for the installation of specialist mechanical equipment for use by the future patients. We also provided remote, daily support to the entire design and construction team while the works were underway on site during the pandemic.
Reviewing the original 1960s construction drawings helped us to understand the building and locate the existing M&E installation, but we waited until the internal spaces had been stripped out to re-assess unknown changes from the original drawings.
The key challenge for us was establishing the current strength and safety of primary structural elements affected by previous alterations, such as small punctures through the floor slabs having potentially weakened the existing concrete. We had to carefully devise a safe solution that enabled the M&E team to interweave their new apparatus with minimal effect on the existing structure.
The programme for this time-sensitive project was extremely challenging, as was the need to protect everyone involved from exposure to Covid 19.
To support the contractor who was under considerable time pressure working around the clock, we made available a dedicated member of our staff to provide instant responses to site queries. Using Microsoft Teams, we participated in a project team update every morning at 8.00 for three months. Our proactive attitude helped to ensure smooth running of the programme and ensured we always remained ahead of any arising issues.