The Challenge:

As part of their commitment to improve patient care, Royal Brompton and Harefield Hospitals saw the need to increase their MRI, echo and radiology capacity in a new diagnostic centre which would allow them to provide the world class facilities needed to deliver specialist heart and lung treatments. The new diagnostic centre would pull all the imaging services together in one space and would enable the hospital to expand their clinical services whilst simultaneously increasing their educational and research programmes.

The challenge of combining so many specialist diagnostic services in one building required a robust clinical user engagement and approval process. With the help of the hospital, the clinical leads were taken through the design for their spaces over the course of 10 half day sessions.

The building structure plan consisted of a four storey concrete framed building (two below ground) and a steel frame to connect the new buildings to the adjacent wings. The project was be split into two phases, phase one included extensive enabling works and the demolition of the existing buildings to clear the site, followed by the phase two construction works.

The Solution:

Working within an extremely tight footprint, sandwiched between two existing buildings, the project team undertook extensive enabling works which involved the construction of three new electrical substations, the removal of existing utilities and the demolition of existing buildings to enable the clearance of the site.

The main construction works commenced with the formation of a double-basement whilst structurally supporting existing occupied hospital buildings either side and the highway to the front. This phase also required the partial demolition of existing buildings either side of the new Diagnostic Centre. Extensive temporary works were involved with the construction of the basement and the monitoring of the movements of existing structures was essential to avoid disruption to the rest of the hospital. Significant logistical challenges required the project team to use an innovative approach during site tower crane installation (forming off plunge columns at the outset of the basement dig).

During the half day design sessions with the clinical leads, their comments were captured and once approved, the layouts were updated and re-presented to them for final sign-off. The result was the creation of spaces that vastly improved the way that these cutting-edge services could be delivered.

The Impact:

The new Diagnostic Centre, procured through the ProCure22 (P22) framework, now brings all the diagnostic imaging services together under one roof and provides specialist diagnostic facilities including MRI, CT, ultrasound, echocardiogram, interventional radiology, transoesophageal echocardiogram (TOE) and bronchoscopy scanning. It vastly improves patients’ experience, as its design now allows patients and staff to effortlessly move between buildings and clinical departments via a convenient and secure route.

The project team fostered positive relationships with the local community throughout, continuously engaging with local residents to keep them updated on the project’s progress and involving them in the process. The team performed a ‘mini-DIY SOS’ type building refurbishment for a local homeless charity and developed exciting tuition and support plans for their homeless members. They also offered various apprenticeships, work experience and upskilling opportunities direct and through their supply chain.

On the sustainability front the site mandated the use of re-usable pallets, which heavily reduced the use of temporary timber, and achieved an 85% diversion of waste from landfill. They also developed a real-time environmental monitoring scheme which allowed them to know when to deploy additional measures such as acoustic enclosures or the damping down of airborne dust.

" There were moments when it felt like steering a juggernaut through difficult times so I’m tremendously proud of what our teams came together to achieve. The new Diagnostic Centre is fitted with some of the most advanced clinical MRI scanners in the world – helping to increase diagnostic capabilities, reduce scanning times and improve overall patient experience. Having this wonderful facility also means we can enhance research, education and training programmes for staff. "
Professor Dudley Pennell Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance Unit Director Royal Brompton and Harefield Hospitals

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