Lowry Building & Civil Engineering has completed a highly complex project at Altnagelvin Hospital that resembled working on an island.
The new extension was created in a former courtyard area that was locked in on four sides by buildings. This presented Lowry Building & Civil Engineering with the formidable challenge of getting materials and personnel onto the site but, as ever, the leading contractor took it in its stride.
The £2.2m contract to create new day surgery theatres was needed to relieve pressure on the busy hospital and is part of an extensive investment programme by the Western Health and Social Care Trust.
The two additional operating theatres, which have been integrated within the existing Day Case Unit, include two self- contained theatres suites with ancillary accommodation, storage and staff rest rooms. A new two- storey extension has also been constructed in the courtyard incorporating a plant room at first floor level which will be accessible via Hospital Street. This new accommodation has been linked with the Day Case Unit and the main Hospital Street by a newly constructed corridor.
The external works carried out by Lowry Building & Civil Engineering involved the disassembly and removal of a redundant timber/steel- framed modular building, its foundations, substructures and drainage, while the internal works included the strip-out and removal of redundant partition walls, suspended ceilings, doors, floor coverings and fixtures and fittings.
Work was completed in June and has already received positive feedback, notably from the Western Trust. It is also one of two projects by Lowry Building & Civil Engineering that has been shortlisted by the prestigious Construction Excellence Awards 2018, with the Altnagelvin work shortlisted in the Health Infrastructure category and the company’s work on The Doyen in Belfast chosen in the Construction Fit-Out section.
“We could not be happier with the feedback we have received on this project already,” explained Graham Baskin, Contracts Manager at Lowry Building & Civil Engineering. “This was a hugely complex project and one of our first in clinical healthcare, so to be told it is one of the best theatres that the Trust has seen is fantastic. To be shortlisted for the Construction Excellence Awards is also a major boost for us.”
Graham added, “The biggest challenge was undoubtedly the logistics of the project. We have a live hospital environment on all four sides of the new build extension, so we had to use a crane to bring in all our tools and materials. We did the same for the refurbished theatre suite as well. Our staff and sub- contractors all had to access the site through the hospital – something we were very sensitive to.
“We worked extremely closely with the hospital and the different wards to keep disruption to an absolute minimum. Our planning had to be perfect and needed high levels of co-ordination with the hospital, suppliers and sub-contractors. It was a real team effort that deserves a lot of praise.”
Lowry Building & Civil Engineering has long-standing experience gained across a wide range of sectors, and while the company has worked extensively in the healthcare sector in the past, this was its first clinical project.
“It is an important step forward for us and one that highlights our attention to detail and the high quality finish we pride ourselves on. To be honest, it was a logistical nightmare and we probably could have had a more straightforward project for our first clinical job, but the challenges we faced and how we overcame them reflect the type of company we are.”
The fact that this project has received such positive feedback from the Western Trust and has already caught the eye of awards’ judges speaks volumes and points to another successful string to an impressive Lowry bow.