Farrans fast-track covid-19 facility
Quick-thinking helped ensure the fast-tracking of Altnagelvin Hospital’s new inpatient wards was a success. After all, there’s no real point of reference for when a global pandemic strikes and you’re being asked to suspend work, shift operations to another part of the building and rapidly construct three fully functional Covid-19 wards. Also tested to the full was professionalism, flexibility and ability to deliver under pressure. When Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s lockdown announcement set the wheels in motion, the request to shift course at the Altnagelvin Hospital came soon after.
“We completed Phase I of the North Wing Development at the beginning of last year,” said David Bolton, Farrans Project Manager. “Phase II was largely enabling work for Phase III, and when the request came in, we were working on the main entrance and Wards 21, 23 and 25 with a June 8 handover.” With a rapidly-changing situation throughout the UK at the end of March, the site team were conscious of the impact on the construction sector.
“We had all been following what was happening in the news and knew we had to be prepared for the impact, particularly when you saw the effect in other countries experiencing the peak of the virus. As a company, we always try to be ahead of the game in our communication and collaboration with our own people and our Clients, stakeholders and supply chain. We were therefore having conversations about potential scenarios and measures we needed to have in place, well before the lockdown was put in place.”
Following a request from the Western Health & Social Care Trust to fast-track delivery of three wards in the Derry- Londonderry hospital to protect against a potential surge, the Farrans team quickly assessed the realistic fast-track measures that could be taken, with a view to handing the wards over 8 weeks early in the interest of public health.
The working relationship already established between Farrans and the Trust was an essential component in accelerating the works programme, whilst still ensuring adherence to the highest possible standards of Health & Safety.
“Because we had Phase I under our belt, both the Trust and Farrans knew what to expect,” David explained. “I think they knew we could deliver.”
Farrans has been permanently on-site on the Healthcare project since 2016, although for some the connection goes back further. David Bolton’s first day on the Altnagelvin Hospital site was a decade earlier, joining the project as his colleagues were laying the South Block’s basement slabs. Now in 2020, as then, David was stepping into largely unknown territory. “As we also were constructing the Main Entrance and Admin areas, we had to start categorising areas as ‘essential’ or ‘non-essential’ in the combating of Covid-19. The Wards considered to be essential were targeted for fast-tracking and focus at that time and work in other areas was stopped in an effort to find a solution to the issue of social distancing”.
Farrans has since put in place a comprehensive Covid-19 Operating Procedure which ensures the highest possible levels of Health and Safety through social distancing and sanitisation. The document has been developed by Farrans’ SHEQ department and is updated regularly in line with Government Guidance, CDM regulations and regional variations.
“Our new Operating Procedure was developed quickly and is being implemented responsibly across all our sites, giving much-needed peace of mind to our employees, supply teams and Clients alike,” David explains. “In late March and early April when we didn’t have the same extent of formal government guidance, Farrans’ priority was to deliver those three critical care wards as quickly as possible, but absolutely without compromise to the safety of our own people and those in close proximity to site. We are proud to have achieved this objective and we know that the Trust has greatly appreciated our efforts.”
Rising to the challenge
Following the public health concerns around Covid-19 in Northern Ireland in March, the Farrans project management team were presented with the challenge of completing Wards 23, 25 and 26 to deal with any potential surges in the virus. It was a considerable challenge but one which Farrans, part of the global construction materials group CRH plc., was able to meet in their usual reliable fashion.
“Back in March, we had to make a serious assessment of how complete the Wards could be in as quick a timeframe as possible,” said David Bolton.
“We had 3 months’ work left to complete but knew we had only a matter of weeks before the wards would potentially be required. Whilst the building fabric was well advanced, a lot of work still remained to ventilation cleaning and balancing, nurse call, fire alarm, BMS and integration with adjacent ‘live’ Phase 1 services. Other services such as medical gases required commissioning and demand for these specialists was very high across all hospitals in NI. Further challenges were encountered getting some specialists from mainland UK and ROI due to travel restrictions.”
In order to meet the Trust’s fast-track request, acceleration measures included: additional resources for essential ward areas, reduced resources for non-essential areas, meticulous planning and coordination to ensure resources were well separated and spread over the job and the introduction of a split shift to effectively half the number of operatives on-site at any one time. Teams worked to ensure compliance and liaise with Building Control, ensuring the local authorities were satisfied with the temporary access, means of escape and status of life-safety-systems.
Onsite, the team focused on excellent collaboration and communication with the integrated team, stakeholders and Client – as well as some serious hard graft!
“We committed to early phase handover on April 17… and we handed over on April 17,” said an understandably delighted David Bolton. “That included some systems which we didn’t originally think in late March we would have ready for April 17. Even the specialists travelling from Mainland UK continued to travel to site to complete works, fully aware of the risks of potentially getting stuck here if borders were closed before getting home again.”
“Successful early handover of this critical phase of works wasn’t just about the Client and main contractor,” said Farrans Project Manager, David Bolton. “Without our supply chain, it wouldn’t have happened. The subcontractors also did an immense job. Dowds really delivered in terms of highly-challenging M&E works, as well as being responsible for testing and commissioning of these.”
The Herculean effort was greatly appreciated by the Client team. Dr Anne Kilgallen, Chief Executive of the Western Health and Social Care Trust, said: “Particular thanks go to Farrans Construction, their subcontractors and supply chain for their support and commitment to delivering this for the hospital, and in the face of extreme challenges to the construction sector.”
Farrans went above and beyond to successfully deliver everything requested by the Western Health & Social Care Trust. With with the support and dedication from their team and the entire supply chain, Altangelvin Hospital, North Wing is now ready to service the North West region of Northern Ireland.
“They were unprecedented and extremely challenging times for everyone within the CRH family and the wider construction industry,” said Glenn Gilmore, Farrans Regional Director at the Altnagelvin Hospital North Wing Redevelopment. “Everyone involved in this project demonstrated immense dedication and positivity in delivering these ward spaces, not only
Farrans, 99 Kingsway, Dunmurry, Belfast, County Antrim, BT17 9NU.
T: +44 (0)28 9055 1300
- VENTILATION HYGIENE
- EXTERIOR INSULATED RENDER SYSTEM
- JOINERY AND FITTED FURNITURE
- SPECIALIST DOOR MANUFACTURER
- BUILDING PRODUCTS SUPPLIER
- PAINTING, FLOORING & HYGIENIC CLADDING
- KITCHEN & CAFÉ CATERING EQUIPMENT
- INTUMESCENT PAINTING & FIRE STOPPING
- BESPOKE VISION PANELS AND FIREGLASS
- GRANITE FAÇADE
Ventilation Surveys and Services (VSS)
A fast track duct-cleaning project delivered ahead of schedule – that’s how VSS does business…
Ventilation Surveys and Services (VSS) are the UK’s leading specialist in ventilation hygiene and are contracted to carry out this specialist work in all NI health trusts on a long-term procurement contract. As experts in ductwork cleaning and all ventilation testing and TR19 compliance works, VSS were well-positioned to comply with the fast-track request from the Department of Health to complete work on the new patient wards at Altnagelvin to facilitate the unprecedented COVID-19 demands. VSS brought in extra workers onsite divided into two teams, who worked non-stop including weekends, going to extraordinary lengths to get the job done. All cleaning was carried out using rotary brushing, mechanical cleaning and conventional cleaning.
“The engineers have been fantastic,” says David Newman, Contracts Manager, VSS. “It was a laborious task for them but they rose to the challenge brilliantly. They had to work longer and harder with the added restrictive element of wearing PPE, practising social distancing and hand-washing. The normal rate of duct cleaning was set out to our teams; remarkably, our engineers achieved an extra 20% on top of that. “We brought in a third team for the final two weeks to accelerate the project even further, and we ended up ahead of the fast-track schedule.”
But time wasn’t the only challenge the VSS team faced. “We normally carry out cleaning in a dust-free environment in the period just before handover, but because of the urgency of this project, other trades were needed on site at the same time. So, we were cleaning on a light building site with an increased risk of contamination. Despite this, when we carried out spot checks of access doors on completion of work, we discovered that contamination was in line with industry standards, which was amazing and a testimony to the quality of work carried out by our engineers,” says David
All the ductwork cleaning at Altnagelvin was overseen by VSS BESA qualified staff in compliance with BESA TR19, BS EN 15780 and HTM 03 01 standards. (HTM 03 01 is specific to the healthcare sector). Also overseeing the work was VSS CEO, George Friend, co-author of industry-standard TR19 and who helped develop the BESA training schemes.
All the work was accompanied by bespoke reports incorporating digital photography and certificates of cleanliness that some insurance companies may require to validate insurance.
With their focus on cutting edge technology, staff training and competence, and a client-focused approach, VSS has become an industry leading business from their establishment in 2011. VSS houses a unique training facility and has invested in bespoke client software capability to ensure that they remain at the cutting edge of industry best practice and techniques.
David praises the professionalism of the Farran’s site managers and the work of his team onsite, “The engineers worked brilliantly, with no complaints. Across the whole lockdown period, we worked mainly within the health trust and had written authority to travel from the Department of Health. Not one of the engineers took ill or required any sick leave – they worked solidly through the whole period. The engineers have been fantastic.” Farrans have also issued their own praise toward VSS, sharing their appreciation for, “everyone’s involvement to get this over the line. The commitment shown from the whole supply chain to aid in the fight against this pandemic and in supporting the NHS has not gone unnoticed and is very much appreciated.”
Client: Department of Health
Main Contractor: Farrans
Project Manager: David Newman
Construction Specialties UK Ltd
Construction Specialities provide bespoke wall protection by the kilometre…
Construction Specialities’ Acrovyn Wall Protection is renowned for its quality, durability and wide range of uses. That versatility and quality is highlighted at the new wards at Altnagelvin Hospital where Acrovyn is now protecting interior walls from pedestrian and wheeled traffic damage, whilst offering an attractive look and feel for patients and staff.
Farrans Construction required Construction Specialties to supply and install a vast quantity of internal wall protection, via their in-house installation team, Conspec Contracts. The installation included 1.2km of bespoke stainless-steel crash rail, 600 metres of Acrovyn wood effect handrails and countless Acrovyn crashrails, corner guards and sheets – creating a total protection package for the hospital. The Acrovyn wood-effect handrails tied in perfectly with the wooden doors and door frames, offering the warm, non-institutional appearance of wood with the added durability of Acrovyn.
“This was a huge job spread over three floors, says Project Manager, Gavin Scott. “The Stainless-Steel Crash Rail was fitted bespoke and, given stainless steel’s unforgiving nature, was a mammoth task for our team.
“For each stainless-steel section, we had to measure and fold it to form an end cap that returns to the wall, making it look almost like a low-level handrail. There’s no changing it once it’s measured, folded and drilled so if anything goes wrong or is slightly out you have to remake it – so a very high degree of accuracy and precision was required from the team.”
With a highly experienced installation team and an expansive range of products to choose from, Construction Specialities was perfectly positioned to meet the unique protection requirements of Altnagelvin Hospital’s new wards.
Construction Specialties UK Ltd,
1010 Westcott Venture Park,
Westcott, Bucks, HP18 0XB.
T: +44 (0)1296 794 361
Specialist Rendering Services & SPSenvirowall
Fire resistant SPSenvirowall exterior insulated render system offers premium protection…
Specialist Rendering Services deployed over 20 years of industry know-how to complete a 5,000 m2 installation of SPSenvirowall exterior insulated render system at Altnagelvin.
An approved SPSenvirowall applicator for 12 years, Specialist Rendering Services was the ideal company to take on this prestigious project. By installing the SPSenvirowall system, they know their finished work will perform at the highest standards with longevity and optimum fire-resistant protection built-in.
The system incorporates 250mm of Rockwool insulation, 6 to 8mm of SPSenvirowall base coat with embedded mesh and a 1.5mm lightly textured decorative finish.
“This provides an excellent fire retardant solution, essential for public buildings,” says Specialist Rendering Services founder, Jason McCarroll. “SPSenvirowall systems are user-friendly for installers and they’ve been developed to achieve high levels of thermal performance without compromising on the visual appearance.”
Specialist Rendering Services has worked for main contractor Farrans on all three phases at Altnagelvin Hospital and for 15 years in total.
“Farrans is a fantastic contractor to work with,” says Jason. “Their onsite team led by Project Manager, David Bolton with Dermot Toye as Externals Manager and QS Caoime McNabb, helped the job run smoothly and finish ahead of schedule. There were never problems, always solutions.
“I’m looking forward to the next project we have lined up with them at Charlton Athletics FC Academy, London.”
T: +44 (0)1535 661 633
Specialist Joinery Group
Combining superior skills with innovative techniques, Specialist Joinery Group delivers a high-quality finish…
Delivering and installing bespoke joinery and fitted furniture to exacting specs was the brief for the team from Specialist Joinery Group for the new wards at Altnagelvin Hospital and the company once again met these requirements at the high standards it is renowned for.
The Maghera-based company supplied a range of items including staff bases, bench seating, cash desk, front reception, integrated panel system (IPS), bedroom furniture and wardrobes for the hospital’s new, state-of-the-art wards.
The project had an added layer of spec towards the end of the job to adhere to Farran’s strict COVID-19 requirements. This called for different shift patterns to operate with two shifts working throughout the day and evening.
Specialist Joinery Group is a leading name in this sector; a multi-award-winning family business dedicated to delivering bespoke joinery for commercial interiors projects. Operating from a 145,000 sq ft purpose-built manufacturing facility, Specialist Joinery Group work on sub contracts ranging in value from £200K to £10million around the world.
One of the reasons for this success is the company’s commitment to excellence and to innovation at every stage of a project. For example, at Altnagelvin, a full mock-up was completed with all elements included to be signed-off before roll out.
This commitment to excellence is well known to main contractor, Farrans, having worked with them on a number of projects, including an extensive range of education and healthcare facilities throughout Northern Ireland, London Boroughs and South East England.
Elite Doors Limited
Highest standards of design and manufacture from Elite Doors…
Elite Doors are the leading manufacturer of specialised doors for sectors such as education, hospitality, leisure and healthcare and were the go-to provider at Altnagelvin Hospital. The Antrim Town company manufactured approximately 650 door sets, along with associated screens for the project; starting in early 2018 and continuing today. Each doorset and screen is bespoke and designed to function in specialist hospital environments such as isolation rooms.
“By manufacturing our products locally in our workshop we are able to ensure quality while reacting very quickly to customers’ needs and demands,” says Errol Little, founder of Elite Doors. Elite Doors are part of the KCC Group of companies and have manufactured high-quality, specialist doors for over 25 years with many signature projects throughout the country. From leisure centres to hospitals, council chambers to schools they can supply reliable, high quality solutions built to stand the test of time.
“We’re currently working on separate projects in Belfast City Hospital, Royal Victoria Hospital, Craigavon Area Hospital, Daisy Hill Hospital, Altnagelvin and Antrim.” advises Errol. “We’ve become renowned for the high standard and quality of our work and have just been awarded the contract for another large health centre in Lisburn with over 600 doorsets.”
Together KCC Group and Elite provide a variety of specialist, integrated solutions for contractors such as Farrans across the country. “We have a very good working relationship with the contractor,” says Errol, “and look forward to working with them on future projects.”
Tennants Building Products
Ireland’s largest distributor of specialist interior fit out solutions continues to excel…
‘Excellence in building products’, that’s the motto at Tennants Building Products and the company fully delivered on that across all three phases at Altnagelvin Hospital.
The company supplied a vast array of construction material from the industry’s leading manufacturers to provide high quality finishes for the project.
Scot McNeilly, Tennants Building Products, says, “This was a substantial project to be involved in. All the walls and ceilings that went in were installed using specialist products supplied by us, such as Ecophon ceilings, Gyproc plasterboards and metal systems and Fermacell Building boards.”
At the forefront of the construction industry and Ireland’s leading independent supplier of drywall, dry lining and metal stud partition and wall lining systems, ceilings, finishing products and accessories, Tennants Building Products was in a prime position to work on this high-profile project.
Tennants remains Ireland’s only fully ISO accredited distributor in their field. With an all-Ireland and GB presence they’re continually developing their product range to suit the needs of an expanding nationwide customer base. Altnaglevin Hospital adds to a comprehensive list of prestigious projects by Tennants.
“This was a good project to be involved in,” says Scot. “Farrans is a great company to work with. All the site managers are well-organised, which makes for a really good working relationship. We’re delighted with the results and are looking forward to working with Farrans again.”
With extensive experience on a diverse range of construction projects, CB Contracts observed that often the ‘finishing’ trades were treading on each other’s toes. So, they made the innovative step to combine their services – painting, hygienic finishes and flooring – with the intention of reducing waste and unproductive overlap.
It’s this efficient and effective service they brought to the Altnagelvin Hospital, North Wing project. CB Contracts has been a member of Farrans’ supply chain for many years and have been working on the Altnagelvin site since 2017. Once the project was designated as an essential site, Farrans were quick to put in place their Covid-19 Risk Assessment Method Statement, and CB Contracts also implemented their own additional health and safety measures. The well-being of employees was, and still is, paramount during this period of uncertainty. CB Contracts were able to deliver the painting, flooring and hygienic cladding project on time for the Trust to begin using the much-needed wards.
Áine Doyle, Commercial Manager at CB Contracts said: “CB Contracts are very proud to have been able to deliver this project during the Covid-19 pandemic and would like to thank all site operatives and staff. CB Contracts are also grateful to the Dulux Decorating Centre, Robert Kirks, Tarkett, SP Group and Ardex who provided CB Contracts with the essential materials to complete the works. Congratulations and thanks also go to David Bolton, the Farrans site team and management, for their professional approach. CB Contracts look forward to a continuing working relationship for years to come.”
Stephens Catering Equipment
Stephens Catering Equipment worked in tandem with Farrans to fast track the installation of three kitchens in the North Wing of Altnagelvin Hospital. With extensive experience in the healthcare sector and having previously fitted similar equipment at Altnagelvin’s North West Cancer Centre, the team was able to dovetail with work being carried out by both main and sub-contractors. “Our own in-house fabrication team made all the bespoke stainless steel units, work tables, dishwasher sinks and wall cupboards,” said Peter Smith, Area Sales Manager at Stephens Catering Equipment. Tall, easy clean COSHH cupboards were also constructed to store chemicals. Equipment supplied included Hobart dishwashers, Rational Combination ovens, Moffat boiling tops and Foster refrigeration.“There was a potential problem with restricted space and running lengths of canopy ducting,” Peter added. “We overcame this with Rational’s unique Ultravent Plus ventilation system that ensures moisture is captured, condensated and drained away.” Stephens also made light of a complicated pipe run to install a large freezer and cold room.
For the last decade, Fire Protec has provided its passive fire protection services to numerous prestigious projects throughout the island of Ireland, including Belfast City Airport. Most recently, they teamed up with Farrans to provide intumescent painting to structural steelwork and firestopping to service penetrations on the Altnagelvin Hospital, North Wing project. The team at Fire Protec were involved from the project’s onset, way back in March 2018 and Tim McGarry, Founder and Contracts Manager at Fire Protec , said: “We were proud to supply our services to this particular project, assisting the NHS and providing critical works during the Covid-19 pandemic which has now led to the completion of a new ward and valuable bed space.” Tim has over 20 years of experience in the industry under his belt, which comes in handy when it comes to massive projects like this one. Fire Protec are a third-party accredited company, certified in the application of reactive coatings, service penetration and linear gap seals. All work they carry out comes with full traceability, an electronic documentation system, and all products used are of the highest quality and are fully tested and accredited. Tim praised the main contractor and his staff who, “worked well with Farrans site management. Very grateful for the dedication of our staff over the course of this challenging project.”
Altnagelvin Hospital, North Wing wasn’t Fireglass Direct’s first foray into the healthcare industry. The company has an excellent reputation for designing, delivering and fitting bespoke glazing solutions to hospitals across the UK and Ireland, including the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast, The South West Acute Hospital in Enniskillen and the London Bridge Hospital. Fireglass Direct were brought on board early in the project by Farrans and Elite Doors to help design and integrate fireglass solutions, mirrors and specialist door vision panels, or ROEH panels. These are an essential element of a hospital, helping patients maintain their privacy and security whilst also allowing doctors to observe when necessary. These panels are made in-house to suit each clients’ needs by Fireglass Direct. The company is proud to be a one-stop-shop for their clients: once the designs were agreed, they were able to produce and fit all the panels within the required timeframe. All glass is cut in-house, supplied and installed by highly skilled fitters, with a Safe-T-Cert accreditation to highlight Fireglass Direct’s commitment to a safe working environment. All products are also extensively tested to meet all necessary fire and safety certificate requirements. Luckily, the majority of this contract was before the initial lockdown, but toward the final stages, the team were very careful to take all necessary precautions to keep themselves safe. Fireglass Direct have a dedicated Healthcare department, focusing on providing glass for critical care, isolation and privacy needs within hospitals and nursing homes, closely collaborating with Hospital Consultants to ensure every design is perfect for its use.
Based in Inishowen Donegal, Inish Stone are experts in everything masonry. With experience building in grey quartz, brown quartz, sandstone, Donegal slate, reclaimed stone, Liscannor stone, limestone and much more, this small company builds with all of the love and care you would expect with their ancient craft.
Having worked previously with Farrans on another successful project, Inish Stone was tendered to complete the granite façade work at Altnagelvin Hospital, North Wing. Though it’s fair to say this wasn’t exactly their usual field, Inish Stone have years of experience with large projects and possessed the critical masonry knowledge that would be required of them to complete this building’s façade to their very high standard. When Inish Stone weighed up their previous work on large commercial builds, such as the DAERA Building in Ballykelly, new lecture halls at Magee University and new entrance walls at Ebrington Square, Derry/Londonderry, along with the support provided from the team at Domus Facades, they were confident that they were well equipped to handle a project of this magnitude. Inish Stone allocated 10-12 weeks to complete the works and despite losing some 7 weeks because of lockdown restrictions, they were well on track for a 10 working-week finish.
Inish Stone would like to acknowledge and thank Nik Shannon at Domus Facade for all of his expertise and help. They would also like to thank Farrans Construction for the opportunity to participate in a project that is so important and central to the local and wider North West community.