Royal Surrey Hospital ward construction June-July 2020
This is part two of the story of the construction of the new Isolation Ward at the Royal Surrey Hospital in Guildford – please read part one here for the full story! I continued to document the build through June and July on behalf of the construction company, Elite Systems GB.
During June 2020, as modules continued to arrive, insulation was placed in between them, and the final work was done on the site’s drainage system:
Fitting out the internals of the new ward
Meanwhile, fitting out work continued inside the modules that had already been installed on site. One great advantage of a modular building system like Elite’s is that multiple trades can work on the building simultaneously.
Also a lot of the internal walls, pipework and ducting had already been installed in the modules at Elite’s factory prior to arrival on site. A hospital ward is of course a particularly complex building to put together because it not only needs to have the usual plumbing and electrical circuits but also piped oxygen supplies and a host of IT cabling for the computers and health monitoring equipment. All these services that had been pre-installed then had to be connected up and tested once the 28 modules that make up the whole building had been connected to each other on-site.
Installing modules by crane
The last few modules had been trucked down the M1 from Elite’s factory in Yorkshire and were craned into place at the beginning of June. I had special permission from the Hospital to fly my drone over the construction site to get these pictures.
(I had special permission from the Hospital to fly a drone to get these aerial pictures).
Through the rest of June, work continued on fitting out the interior of the new isolation ward. As you can see, this involved a mass of piping, plumbing and electrical cables, to bring necessary services to all parts of the building. There is even a dedicated supply of oxygen running through to each ward, in case it’s needed by patients. The whole building is fitted out with Ethernet cabling as well, for the many computers and other electronic devices used in a modern hospital.
Outside, other workers laid pathways and finished off the landscaping of the site.
By the 3rd of July the interior was substantially complete, and ready for final checks and inspection before handover to the hospital.
Official Opening of the new Ward by the Mayor of Guildford
And finally, on July 20th, I photographed the official opening of the new ward by the Mayor of Guildford, Councillor Richard Billington, with hospital staff and administrators in attendance as well as Guildford’s Member of Parliament Angela Richardson:
A new ward built in three months
Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of this project is how quickly it all came together – from beginning to clear the site to being ready for patients in a little over three months. A “bricks and mortar” new hospital building would normally take at least two years to be built. But Elite System’s innovative building system, plus the fast-tracking of the planning process by Guildford Borough Council, allowed a super-fast response to the needs of dealing with the Covid pandemic, and may well have saved many lives…
I felt very privileged to have been able to record the whole process from start to finish, and also to have a long-running project to work on while everyone was in lockdown!
If you have a similar construction project that you’d like documented for social media, your website, print use, and for your portfolio – please contact me for more information – I’m happy to help!