King Edward VII’s Hospital Sister Agnes

Project PRUs

Project Alice 2

Patient roomFloyd Slaski LLP maintains a successful working relationship with the Hospital that stretches back some twenty-five years. In that time we have installed new operating theatres, built two major new extensions, undertaken surveys and feasibility studies and most recently have been the architects and project manager for a series of ward refurbishments. These were given the acronym PRU - Patient Room Upgrade - and each year another PRU is added to the list. We are currently working on PRU 4.

This case study looks at the first PRU scheme and explains how with careful forethought, experience and planning, difficulties on site were kept to a minimum and as a consequence how Floyd Slaski gave added value to the contract.

The Hospital is narrow and linear and sits between Beaumont Street to the west and Dunstable Mews to the east. Service access is restricted, which always poses a problem for contractors when carrying out major works. The main five storey building has plant on the roof and in the basement, reception, offices and imaging on the ground floor, wards on first, second and third floors, restaurant, pharmacy, stores and theatre changing on the fourth floor and theatres at fifth floor. Consulting rooms and staff accommodation are next door.

The wards were refurbished in 1990 and fifteen years on the appearance was beginning to look dated. In December 2005 the Hospital commissioned Floyd Slaski LLP to work with members of the project working party to look at ways of bringing the ward up to current standards. Once complete it was important that the rooms not only met strict clinical standards, but also satisfied the needs and expectations of patients and clinical staff and the Hospital's Infection Control Sister. Because of the potential disruption to the smooth running of the Hospital it was vital that the works were completed quickly, but within a set budget. This project was to be the prototype for the remaining wards and it was agreed that with the restrictions of time and the need to keep the remainder of the ward open that clinical areas, such as dirty utility, would be carried over to the subsequent phase.

Members of the working party were able to examine the existing rooms, question patients, research the most suitable fixtures and fittings, look at working procedures and establish how improved designs could help make the patient care process easier. We designed purpose made furniture that could be manufactured off site prior to installation once the main building work had been completed. Visits to workshops were arranged and representatives were encouraged to bring samples of new sanitary ware and other fittings to the Hospital for discussion.

Walk in showerAs they became vacant we surveyed each room and examined the effect on rooms beneath when replacing existing baths with new walk-in showers. The main problem being the cutting of drainage outlets in the structural floor and connecting to existing drainage stacks.

We recognised that such a tight programme meant all design work had to be complete and suppliers and subcontractors engaged before the start on site. We worked alongside the Hospital to ensure that means of escape routes were not blocked, fire alarms were deactivated where required, contractors' access routes to the site were clearly defined and positions and construction of temporary partitions were thought through.

The contract was negotiated with Quest Interiors and site work commenced in late July 2006. We ensured that the contractor kept the Hospital informed daily of progress and any potential disruption. Representatives of the Practice visited site regularly and were able to resolve any problems as they arose. These were generally associated with connections to the existing services in areas that could not be surveyed whilst rooms were occupied. We held weekly site meetings and monitored progress, not only on site, but also with materials and supplies elsewhere. By careful planning, our ability to work closely with users and our attention to detail we ensured that the number of onsite difficulties were kept to a minimum and the project achieved its desired aims.

Following completion of the works we organised a meeting to analyse what was considered successful and what could be improved. This helped with the success of the following PRU schemes where some elements of the design were altered. Despite the increased size and costs of these schemes the contract programmes remained short enough to fit within the Hospital's operational timetable.

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