Client: Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust
Project Value: £65k
Project Completion: September 2021
Project Manager: Ray Hunter
In October 2015, the new Alder Hey Children’s Hospital was opened in the grounds of Springfield Park. It left behind a predominantly victorian hospital that opened its doors in October 1914. The old hospital was able to accommodate 350 children across twelve wards, but had reached the end of its useful life.
The new hospital has 270 beds, including 48 critical care beds for patients in ICU, HDU and Burns.
The move to the new hospital left behind many of the older buildings and the planned and phased demolition of these began in 2017. The plan is for this land to be returned to green space to replace the parkland lost for the new building. Other parts of the site have been earmarked for new housing development.
With the upcoming demolition of the building that housed the central plant room, our role was to do all of the preliminary work to make this possible and then install a temporary boiler solution to ensure the Oncology, Histopathology, Estates and Workshop buildings were all fully served and left with no interruption in the heating and water supplies. These buildings will be disconnected from the main site heating distribution system, allowing the main boiler room to be decommissioned and dismantled.
Water quality is obviously critical in a hospital environment. Much of the existing pipework ran under the site of the new housing development or future parkland. Our role also included tracing and re-routing this pipework to be within the new boundaries of the site. Prior to reinstating the revised water pipework they were fully cleaned and chlorinated under the supervision of the Trust’s in-house water quality specialist.
The gas pipes posed a similar problem with the need to reroute pipes that previously ran over the top of buildings planned for demolition. These were bypassed initially to allow uninterrupted supply to existing buildings and then re-routed too.
With this work done, we then installed two temporary Carrier 400kw and 525kw oil-fired boilers and 650-litre tank to supply the heating requirement for the remaining of the older hospital buildings. The decision to go with oil-fired boilers was due to the location of the temporary plant room and the significant cost that would have been incurred to install a temporary gas main, which would have incurred further costs to remove them when the demolition and greening project was complete.
The project was managed by Ray Hunter, Senior Contract Engineer at Kimpton.
“It was an interesting project that required a lot of close collaboration with the consultants and the client to design a solution that delivered the minimum of disruption and kept costs under control. These types of projects are never run of the mill and can only be delivered by a team with experience.
We have worked extensively in the healthcare sector and understand the challenges and the critical nature of keeping the heating and water supplies working throughout. It’s where we think our strengths lie, and I know of the types of projects we work on, these are certainly some of the most interesting and personally challenging.”
There were a number of significant challenges on the site and in the project.
The first was the need to keep the heating and water on at all times. Alder hey look after some very sick children and leaving them in a position where they were having to evacuate children is unthinkable.
The second was trying to identify the water and gas mains in order to bypass and reroute them. Plans from 1914, when the hospital was first built can be sketchy at best. The fact that most of these lines have been extended over the years make this a more significant task.
We were also on notice that the old pant rooms and buildings may have asbestos present. This was checked by specialists to allow us to complete the project safely.