£3m mechanical installation completed on new ‘concept ward’ hailed as blueprint for future of UK hospital care

Dixon Integrated Services has completed a £3m installation of plumbing, heating, cooling and ventilation systems in a new £15m hospital ward which has been hailed as a blueprint for the future of healthcare in the UK.

We were contracted to complete the full mechanical fit on the new 28-bed ward by healthcare estates specialists Health Spaces. It has been built at the James Paget University Hospital site in Norfolk to provide additional capacity until a new hospital is constructed.

Funded by the Department of Health and Social Care, the ‘concept ward’ has been built as a blueprint for the Government’s New Hospitals Programme (NHP), which is set to see for 40 new hospitals built between now and 2030.

Time-saving modern methods of construction were used, with modules manufactured in Hull as ground works progressed on-site. The ward includes 20 single en-suite bedrooms and two four-bed bays, a patient day room and garden area as well as a staff rest room, kitchen and changing facilities.

It was designed to allow plenty of daylight and extra space to accommodate temporary beds for patients' relatives.

Team of more than 30 mechanical specialists on installation

A team of more than 30 mechanical design and installation specialists from Dixon Integrated Services, part of the long-established Dixon Group, spent more than a year working on the project.

Mechanical designers firstly started working with architects and the main contractors to plan the project in April 2022, before a team of more than 30 carried out the huge installation works between January and May of this year.

The DIS team has completed all plumbing, heating, cooling, ventilation installations, as well as installing medical gases supplies to rooms to provide oxygen for patients, and a full Building Management System (BMS), ensuring complete and efficient climate control across the entire building.

The install included specialist, highly energy efficient CIAT chillers and heat pumps. Dalair Air Handling Units provide 100% fresh tempered air is delivered to the ward, with 15 changes an hour, to create a constant cooling or heating supply.

Head of Operations Shaun Lamming said it had been a project with many challenges to overcome, especially given the tight deadlines – and at times challenging weather – whilst high Health Technical Memorandum (HTM) and Health Building Notes (HBN) guidelines and specifications needed to be met on the design, maintenance and operation of ventilation systems.

“It has been a complicated and challenging project given the nature of the development and the high specifications involved, but it has gone incredibly smoothly thanks to the detailed planning and design we undertook in the early stages, in which we had weekly meetings with the architects and contractors to ensure every aspect was considered,” he said.

“We’ve made sure we were using the very best products in terms of performance, quality, reliability and safety throughout, and although the installation period faced its usual challenges with timeframes having to adjust here and there, as happens in most large construction projects, everything was managed through good communication with the contractors and others we were working alongside.

“We’ve only had a few minor elements to adjust following completion, which on a job of this scale and complexity in terms of mechanical installations, is something all are very pleased with, and again is down to detailed planning and product selection based on quality.”

Contract reflects industry reputation

The new facility was opened by Dame Ruth May, the Chief Nursing Officer for England, attracting widespread media coverage and many VIP visitors.

Kirk Dixon, Commercial Director at Dixon Group, said: “This contract was very complex with a lot of potential pitfalls.

“Due to Shaun’s management, the management of Paul Wright and the hard work along with attention to detail of all installation engineers, this project was able to run smoothly in terms of the installation elements.

“What people do not see is the hours spent organising and arranging all the works, but this project has highlighted the benefits of clear lines of communication and cooperation.

“The HTM and HBN are very stringent, as they should be, so close attention needs to be made of every element of the install, so as all requirements are supplied once the hospital is occupied and in full swing.

“Shaun and Paul have left no stone unturned and have been a credit to Dixon Group. We are only as good as our team and this contract proves that we have some good people within our team.”

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