30th March 2021
A Healthy Start to 2021
Milton Keynes University Hospital (MKUH) is a healthcare site currently undergoing significant upgrades to enhance its services, particularly a new imaging centre for MRI and CT scanning. The recently commenced project is a planned investment, forming part of the UK Government’s Healthcare Infrastructure Plan.
Our team, which has extensive experience within healthcare design and construction, having recently worked on the innovative Chase Farm Hospital in Enfield, London, were commissioned by the MKUH Trust to provide specialist consultancy during the ongoing design development stages.
Specifically, we were required to prepare a RIBA Stage 2 design for the facility. The project came with a rigorous sustainability brief, in line with the Trust’s own energy and infrastructure strategy and the NHS’s commitment to achieve Net Zero carbon emissions by 2040, and an aim to achieve BREEAM ‘Outstanding’ rating.
The newly designed, three storey building will replace a smaller, one storey structure which exists on the proposed plot. The ground floor will house the MRI and CT units, with associated ancillary spaces. The first floor will contain ultrasound suites and offices. The third storey will be dedicated to the essential plant needed to operate the building 24/7, 365 days of the year.
The site comes with a healthy set of challenges, often confronted when working within existing healthcare facilities where the work never stops. There’s little room for manoeuvre and construction will need to be done in a relatively confined area with minimal disruption. This was a key consideration in our team’s approach to the design. On sloping ground, in close proximity to one of the hospital’s main units, a busy road and a bridge link corridor, the task was far from straightforward. Part of our proposal involved careful consideration of existing foundations of other buildings and below-ground services. Further, the facility is to be built on clay soil and is adjacent to a large willow tree, so our team needed to look at soil shrinkage and heave potential to mitigate any risk.
Project lead, Director Steve McSorley says, “It’s great to be involved in a project which really puts our design skills to the test, the space in which we have to work is limited and the construction journey has a very tight timeframe. Of course, it’s still early stages, but construction work is set to commence in the summer so we need to work as efficiently and intuitively as possible, and in collaboration with all parties involved. Ultimately, it’s a team effort. We’ve used 3D modelling to allow us to deliver efficiently designed and coordinated structural options very quickly.
“One thing, which will be critical, is the delivery of a building to meet the requirements of HTM 08-01 with regard to performance of the floors in respect of vibration. This is a crucial requirement for the use and futureproofing of the centre, offering the MKUH Trust vital flexibility should the space’s first floor need to be repurposed for other general clinical use. We look forward to continuing to work with the Trust, AD Architects, Services Engineer TB+A, Cost Manager, WT Partnership and contractor Morgan Sindall to deliver a new facility which will directly help to improve public health and wellbeing.”
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