Procurement framework key to new UK COVID-19 hospitals
ProCure 22 used to appoint teams for repurposing convention centres
The UK Government’s ProCure 22 Construction Procurement Framework (P22) is proving key to contracting teams capable of rapidly repurposing exhibition centres and other facilities to treat patients suffering from COVID-19. Administered by the Department of Health and Social Care, P22 was extended in early March for up to a year in response to the expected impact of the virus on healthcare resources. BAM construction, appointed under P22 for the transformation of the London’s Excel Centre into the Nightingale Hospital, has now been announced as design and build contractor for the Harrogate Convention Centre conversion.
Paul Clemenson, pre-construction director for BAM construction in the North East, stated, “Over our distinguished history of service to the UK, BAM has probably built more healthcare schemes than anybody: in excess of 400. We even built emergency hospitals during both World Wars. So we feel a sense of poignancy to be doing this now....I think it also shows what a fantastic tool the P22 route has proven to be for major healthcare schemes that it can adapt to deliver so quickly in such situations.”
As the first Nightingale facility, the Excel Centre was an obvious choice for conversion due to its large flat floor spaces with flexible infrastructure that can be easily adapted to meet the needs of the temporary hospital. BDP architects were invited to join the project following a study they undertook to propose the use of exhibition centres to house large-scale temporary intensive care units.
In order to deliver the required volume of equipped beds within a short timeframe, all teams made immediate decisions to allow construction to progress in parallel with the design. A modular, repeatable approach with minimal building intervention was adopted, with bed heads and service corridors created from a component system usually used to construct exhibition stands. Following completion, an instruction manual was compiled to outline the central concepts, so that other schemes can benefit from the lessons learnt.
NHS Nightingale was officially opened on 3rd April by the Prince of Wales, who said the hospital "offers an intensely practical message of hope for those who will need it most at this time of national suffering." In addition to the London and Harrogate schemes, new hospitals will open over the coming weeks in Manchester, Birmingham and Bristol.