An Insight Into Building Great Healthcare Environments
10th March 2022
Building Great Healthcare Environments
ITC Project Director, Tony Corbett, has delivered more than 10 projects for our healthcare clients in the last 3 years. He and his team have delivered a wide variety of solutions for a range of public and private healthcare providers and educational institutions. His clients include University College London Hospitals, Central London Healthcare, Guys and St. Thomas’ Trust, Epsom & St Helier Hospital and NHS Property Services, to name just a few.
We talked to Tony about his team’s experience within this sector and what makes a successful healthcare project for our clients.
What makes working in the healthcare sector unique for you?
TC: When delivering solutions for our healthcare clients, the impact of what we do on the local community, and how the facilities we provide will assist the skilled and hard-working healthcare people in undertaking their key responsibilities, is always to the fore of our thinking.
We take great pride in enhancing environments and providing critical services that enable doctors and nurses to provide quality care to their patients. We work closely with our clients to help develop the very best solutions and outcomes.
An example of this would be the work we did at St. Helier Hospital in Carshalton, as the pandemic really started to take hold in the UK in 2020. At the time, understanding of coronavirus was very limited and the resultant concerns and anguish compounded the already challenging nature of the project. Against this background, there was a critical need to accelerate work, and to make available new facilities that were urgently required to treat the rapidly increasing number of seriously ill patients.
I’m delighted to say that through close collaboration with the St. Helier management team, the dedication and commitment of ITC people and our partners, including the adoption of 24 hours, 7 day a week working, we were able to handover accommodation and facilities 5 weeks early. The early availability of these facilities had a considerable impact on the well-being and futures of many people. Being a part of such a success story is something my team and I are immensely proud of.
What are the common challenges that you come across working in healthcare environments, and how do you and your team overcome them?
TC: It is imperative that we do not compromise the integrity of the healthcare environment. In preparing for delivery of a project, we pay special attention to ensuing safety and hygiene standards that will not adversely impact operational healthcare environments and take particular care to avoid any potential disruption to day to day working. We keep our sites separated from the public, to ensure their safety and that of our teams.
We do this by creating a separate entrance to site, displaying clear signage, sectioning off areas, and keeping a clean site. We carry out training and inductions with our sub-contractors to ensure all rules are followed. Working through the pandemic has added an additional complexity to managing healthcare projects, further highlighting the importance of the use of correct PPE.
Commissioning of the existing and new services systems is critical. We respect and appreciate the requirements for services’ systems to be proven, cleaned/disinfected and certified, before integrating systems back into the hospital systems. Our in-house Technical Support Managers work closely with specialist subcontractors, consultants and authorising engineers, to ensure systems conform with HTM requirements and that Trust protocols are followed.
Good communication and close collaboration with security personnel, porters and other on-site employees is key to understanding and applying appropriate rules and guidelines effectively.
What do you think is the most important factor in a successful healthcare client and contractor relationship?
TC: There are various elements that contribute to a good working relationship with healthcare clients. Clear, concise, and accurate communication is essential. Early warnings and forward planning programming have a big impact on co-ordinating projects. It is important to have open and honest conversations with the client team. This enables us to best understand and fulfil their priorities, whilst ensuring the safety of hospital employees, patients, and visitors.
A clean, safe site is important to the client and to us. We make sure all site personnel adhere to the specific healthcare facility’s rules, in addition to complying with ITC’s site rules. We work hard to minimise any disruption to the day-to-day operations of the building.
How have you seen healthcare requirements evolve over the last 3 years?
TC: The rapid advances in technologies that provide new and better ways to treat patients have been most apparent. At ITC we work hard to ensure that we stay up to date with the latest technologies, and we are continually developing our knowledge and capabilities so that we are best able to serve our clients.
A notable example of this would be the work that we are undertaking within UCLH’s Chandler wing at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery. The client is seeking early delivery, with requirements including state of the art medical gas facilities. The complexity of the solution and the specialist nature of various components within, is such that delivery lead times are variable. Whilst preparing our technical proposal, we identified this as representing a high risk to target achievement dates. In response, we were able to develop a bespoke solution that enables the commissioning of individual components as and when they are available, thus avoiding any serial delays. Our understanding of potential risks and barriers to completion, coupled with our ability to mitigate these risks through the development of effective solutions, means we can provide our clients with early availability of critical infrastructure
What do you enjoy about working in the healthcare sector?
TC: I enjoy the sense of achievement working in the healthcare sector. Knowing that my team are creating better places for people to work in and providing facilities that mean patients can be provided with the best care available, is very rewarding. We’re proud to support the skilled and dedicated people working within the NHS, and it’s great to feel a part of a team that is making a real and meaningful difference to people’s lives.
We are currently on site at the Crown Dale Medical Centre in South-East London, where we are transforming the current healthcare centre for North Wood Medical Group to better serve the local community. We are helping them to utilise the site more effectively, by building 3 new extensions to the existing building and reconfiguring the building internally to provide the medical group with more space to treat patients, providing 4 additional consulting rooms and making the building more accessible for all building users. Whilst on site, we have positively engaged with the local community with our team going into the local primary school to raise awareness of the project and talk about the different careers within the construction industry. The site is now recognised by the Considerate Constructors Scheme, with a ‘very good’ overall rating.
What is your favourite healthcare project and why?
TC: The positive relationship my team has developed with the team at UCLH, and the high level of satisfaction we have strived to deliver to the client whilst working on site, has resulted in us working on a number of projects within the complex over the last three years.
Of these, one of the most rewarding projects that I have worked on was the reconfiguration and refurbishment of an existing ward into a specialist Medical Intensive Therapy Unit (MITU). This is the only dedicated MITU unit in the UK treating neuro-medical disorders, with our work including the installation of state-of-the-art health recovery equipment. I’m pleased to say we continue to receive positive feedback about the MITU project from the doctors, nurses, and various other parties who continue to enjoy the benefits of the facilities provided.
Your Next Healthcare Project
ITC work with built environment professionals to unlock the potential of spaces and realise ambitions. Our aim is to provide your team with the very best. The best people, the best contractors, the best outcomes, and the best experience.
If you are planning a refurbishment or fit-out project, get in touch with our team to discuss your requirements on 020 8296 1800 or email email@example.com.