Peter McStay is the project manager for Nuffield Health at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital in London. It is one of the sites Kier is opening to the public for Open Doors Week 2019. Here, Peter explains the challenges of central-London construction sites, gives an overview of the project and explains why Open Doors Week is vital for the construction industry.

“I have worked at Kier for 21 years and started as a site manager. During my time at Kier I have been fortunate enough to work on a range of exciting projects in London, these include the Midlands Good Shed at Kings Cross and the Aeronautics and Mechanical Engineering building on behalf of Imperial College London.

Much like these projects, Nuffield Health at St. Bart’s is a centrally-located London project, which brings with it a range of challenges to overcome. There is the challenge of space-constraints for all central-London projects which requires in-depth planning to get around.

Additionally, one of the first and key things to identify when working on a central-London project is the neighbours, this is key because you need to ensure that you minimise any disruption to their daily lives. This is a prominent issue with the Nuffield Health at St. Bart’s where we are refurbishing two disused buildings; The Old & Modern Pathology building and The Residential Staff Quarters building. The location of the site means that we are working alongside an operational hospital and have critical medical services running through the site. We have had to find ways to work around those and not disturb the daily workings of the hospital.

This site is also challenging in that it is beside not one, but two, Grade I listed buildings; St. Bartholomew-the-Less Church and The Great Hall of the North Wing. With any build you always have to be careful with existing buildings nearby and in this instance, we have been highly detailed with our pre-construction planning to identify and mitigate any potential risks to the sites.

The design has been developed to meet Nuffield Health requirements to deliver modern, efficient and patient-focused healthcare facilities. Both buildings have Edwardian ‘restrained classical’ style façades constructed in traditional Portland stone, in keeping with this we have continued to use Portland stone on external façades.

The Old Pathology building front and return façades will be retained, using an externally founded steel façade retention system, with the rest of the building demolished fully, inclusive of the existing basement slab. New piled foundations will then be installed to form a new basement raft and a reinforced concrete frame will be erected. The new rear façade will be clad in Portland stone to match the existing rear façade and a new faux Mansard roof structure will house the rooftop plant areas.

The Modern Pathology building consists of a steel frame superstructure generally with pre-cast concrete plank floor slabs. The structural steel frame will be strengthened inclusive of localised additional pile caps and following this the existing floor slabs will be progressively demolished and replaced with composite slabs. The façade is a plain Portland stone which will be largely retained, apart from the circa 5m wide Giltspur Street elevation which will be removed and replaced with a glass curtain walling system.

Once complete, the Nuffield Health site will be the only independent hospital in the City of London and the state-of-the-art facility will redefine standards for hospital care. The Pathology building will contain four theatres, diagnostics rooms including MRI, CT and X-Ray facilities and two ward floors which each consist of 15-patient rooms. The Residential Staff Quarters building is largely a support building, but it also contains consulting rooms, office space and some diagnostic and minor clinical facilities.

This is a very intricate project with a lot of tailored characteristics and it will be fascinating for Open Doors Week. For me, Open Doors Week is vitally important for the construction industry. We need to continue to think of innovative ways to attract as many people as we can to the industry. There are so many interesting roles in the industry, from operatives, managers to creative people and trades-workers. I’m very passionate about inviting everyone to come and look at the site and hopefully be inspired by this fantastic industry and I’m really looking forward to Open Doors Week 2019.”

To find out more about Open Doors Week or book a site visit, go to: https://opendoors.construction/