Innovative construction delivers sustainable resource centre

By Jo Makosinski 11-Apr-2023

Papworth Hospital modular buildings repurposed to provide support centre for patients and staff at Fulbourn Hospital

The £5.8m resource centre is helping to decarbonise the hospital estate

The £5.8m resource centre is helping to decarbonise the hospital estate

A new resource centre has been opened at Fulbourn Hospital to provide the local community with a modern and sustainable healthcare hub tailored to the needs of patients and staff.

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust’s (CPFT) new £5.8m building features a gym, offices, social and recreational spaces, as well as physio and occupational therapy areas. 

At the end of March, a new branch of The Edge Café also opened at the centre. 

The trust’s pharmacy service has been the first to move in and it will soon be joined by music, art, and drama therapists alongside members of the Heart and Soul chaplaincy team. 

The new centre will co-locate more than 25 people from existing departments and has been carefully designed to meet the needs of its users, including for patients who require intensive mental health support. 

The opening follows a year-long building programme by Morgan Sindall Construction’s Cambridgeshire business, with project managers, Northmore, to create a two-storey, 1,200sq m facility on the site of the hospital’s previous resource centre.  

Repurposing existing buildings was a key part of the construction process in order to achieve the CPFT’s sustainability targets. 

Morgan Sindall utilised its Intelligent Solutions approach to adopt an innovative modular construction method which saw 25 existing modules from the former Papworth Hospital transported to the site and renovated into a modern healthcare facility. 

Recycling the modular units meant the existing steel structure could be used, cutting the build time significantly and avoiding the need for new materials to be manufactured, transported, and installed.

This method also diverted a significant amount of waste from landfill and cut greenhouse gas emissions.

In total, the trust decarbonised its hospital estate by 144 tonnes of carbon during this project.  

The offsite technique also minimised disruption to Fulbourn Hospital and its users and ensuring the modules arrived as completely weather-tight and empty shells meant they were ready for interior renovations within just four days of delivery. 

Jamie Shearman, area director for Morgan Sindall Construction in Cambridgeshire, said: “It is great to see the resource centre's doors open as we know it is going to deliver a long list of benefits to the local community. 

Recycled modules were repurposed from nearby Papworth Hospital

Recycled modules were repurposed from nearby Papworth Hospital

“The centre will not only act as a gateway to the hospital, but it also provides a much-needed activities and leisure hub, which is crucial for patients and carers. 

“And, thanks to our collaborative relationship with Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust, we have utilised a number of innovative and creative solutions which made this a highly-sustainable project. 

“Re-using the existing modular buildings is a great example of our Intelligent Solutions ethos, as it required an alternative approach to the project’s delivery and a lot of creative thinking to generate as much value for the hospital as possible.

“While challenging, this resulted in a high-end space which is going to be invaluable for so many patients while simultaneously aligning with the trust’s vital green goals.”  
Alison Manton, the trust’s associate director of estates, adds: “The new centre is a fantastic addition to our Fulbourn site. 

“The buildings have been re-purposed and transformed into a place which I believe staff, service-users and visitors will really enjoy.” 

Other carbon-reducing aspects of the development include the use of HVO fuel, which saw the construction team use approximately 2,000 litres of fuel which emit 97% less carbon than traditional diesel. 

Electric car-charging is also freely available onsite for the hospital’s staff.   

And the use of a light-weight screed during the project provided a number of construction and environmental benefits.

The chosen screed is less weight-intensive on the building structure and dries more quickly, making it highly suitable for a modular build. It also uses less cement due to its lower volume.  

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