After less than five months on site, the Portakabin Group has handed over a £2m, four-storey scheme for office support staff at the University Hospital Southampton. Portakabin was appointed as design and build contractor for the project, and manufactured the 1,300m2 facility using a Yorkon off-site solution.
The new building was required to provide purposed-designed, permanent business support offices and meeting space for around 85 staff from the Medical Physics and Dietetics teams who were relocating from outdated temporary facilities. That accommodation could then be demolished to allow construction work to start on a new seven-storey car park.
The upper two floors of the office scheme will provide additional space for the Trust’s future expansion without any further impact on the hospital site.
The site is in the centre of the hospital and was extremely constrained, fronting a busy road and next to a number of clinical buildings. Fast completion was essential so work could be started on the car park development as soon as possible.
Portakabin had to undertake complex logistics and meticulous planning throughout to manage traffic flows and maintain access at all times for bus and ambulance routes and for around 800 deliveries each day along the road immediately adjacent to the site.
Because of the severely restricted working area, the Yorkon building modules were craned into position around 70% fitted out, with partitions, plumbing and electrics pre-installed in the factory to further reduce work on site.
'The restricted time to build this scheme was the key driver for modular construction,' said Neil Haskell, Senior Project Manager at the University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust. 'Site-based building methods could not have delivered the building in the timeframe we had, and were not feasible on such a tight site.
'The space for the new facility was extremely limited and so lent itself well to moving as much of the construction into the factory as possible. “The use of a Yorkon solution also resulted in much less disruption because most of the fitting out was done off site and we were able to maintain access 24/7.'
Portakabin worked on the project with Interserve Prime, which is in a joint venture Commercial Estates Development Partnership (CEDP) with the Trust to develop a programme of new hospital facilities.
'This scheme was on the critical path for a wider project and so was very programme-driven,' commented Ben Gwilliam, Development Manager for Interserve Prime. 'We needed to have the new offices fully operational as soon as possible for the relocation of staff from various departments. Portakabin delivered the building on time, met all the requirements for functionality and layout, and in an extremely tight timescale. This allowed us to progress other essential development works for the hospital, to the benefit of patients and staff.'