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Delivering for NHS clients in challenging circumstances

Procure Partnerships Framework contractor partner Whitfield & Brown is delivering a comprehensive programme of reinstatement works to the fire damaged Kendrick Wing at Warrington and Halton Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Following a fire in March 2018, Whitfield and Brown were appointed as Contractor to deliver the internal reinstatement works of the wing, to enable it to be reopened in Spring 2020.

The project sees the ground and first floor of the Kendrick wing, within Warrington General Hospital, upgraded following the recent fire damage. The reinstatement works consist of a full internal refurbishment, to repair the fire damaged rooms and subsequent water damaged building, complete modernisation and a new internal specification to meet building standards.

Zoe Brooke, Director at Whitfield & Brown commented on the scheme and the need for it to be completed and back in service following the devastating fire: “We are proud to be able to work within the community within which we all live and to provide the necessary work which will enable this wing to be able to reopen its doors once again. The fire was devastating for the hospital and we are happy that we can do our part in rebuilding this for our community”

The project is progressing well and will soon be completed. All of the flooring on both levels has been prepped and the flooring team have started work. Whitfield & Brown brought the flooring team in earlier than expected, which in turn will assist the end of the programme when all of the trades are finishing off. They recently completed all of the ceiling installations including cabling for the building.

Whitfield & Brown put their substantial Health & Safety experience to good use in designing a programme that mitigated against disrupting the Hospital’s normal operation. The contractor prepared a plan that allows access and egress to be via an isolated internal stairwell, limiting the interaction with patients, hospital staff and the general public and isolating construction activities to the ward. Internal segregation arrangements prevent unauthorised access from the interlinking corridors and prevent interruption to hospital services, to do this the site was segregated internally the site team erected hoarding to prevent accidental access to any areas. This also provided a sound/dust barrier to restrict the noise levels and dust from the site from impacting those working/being treated within the Kendrick Wing.

The Whitfield & Brown team maintains close communication with the client and affected wards to ensure they maintain the highest professional standards. The works have been carried out within a ‘live and operational’ hospital building and have required considerable liaison between Whitfield & Brown’s site management team, the design team and the Hospital to ensure the works cause the minimum of disruption to the operation of the Hospital. Feedback from the client has been very positive as to how the works have been managed by all parties.

Lee Bushell, Head of Capital Projects at Warrington and Halton Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust commented on the challenges presented by the job and the current environment: “Following a seamless procurement process through the framework, the works are progressing well despite numerous problems on site. Issues with asbestos, environmental cleans, cracks to floors and COVID19 have all threatened to derail the project. However, the project team and Whitfield and Brown have remained diligent and determined throughout to deliver the scheme as quickly as possible. The insurance policy made writing a specification difficult as the policy was a like for like replacement. The building at over 100 years old proved difficult and some deviation was required as well as lots of additional unforeseen works and costs to rectify the issues as they arose. Again, despite this, we have worked at length with Whitfield and Brown to minimise the impact in order to reach handover as quick as possible.”

As mentioned, the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted upon the project. Whitfield & Brown took steps to ensure the projects progressed safely. Work has continued on-site in a safe manner in-line with the government guidelines. Whitfield & Brown has worked closely with the Hospital to ensure that they working to their requirements and maintained a continuous flow of communication with the Hospital team. In addition to this, the contractor has worked with the Hospital to allow for them to gain early access to the site, through the ground floor internal corridor (which they had sealed off for safety). The hospital requested this as the corridor was one of the only internal routes through the hospital for the vital transportation of much needed equipment in the fight against Covid-19.

On the success of the relationship between Warrington and Halton Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Whitfield & Brown, Procure Partnerships Framework Key Account Manager, Faye Dolan added: “Fire deprived the community of vital services, we are proud to be supporting a scheme that returns these capabilities to the hospital and happy to see the strong working relationship between client and contractor, especially given the uncertain circumstances we currently face, all of the parties involved have worked admirably and considerately”