Bob Hughes of Pipe Center and Geoff Barnett, who headed up the project for Binks Building Services.

New £16.5m health centre uses modular building services

Published:  10 June, 2011

HULL: A new £16.5m health centre nearing completion in Hull is equipped with a state-of-the-art modular building services solution assembled by Pipe Center’s Modular Engineering.

The off-site fabricated system, specified by mechanical services contractors Binks Building Services, was chosen for the new Wilberforce Health Centre in order to meet the very tight timescale for delivery on the project.

The facility will be home to a walk-in GP service, with doctors relocating from nearby surgeries, and will also enable clients also to see dentists and health counselors. It will also be a base for paramedics.

The factory-assembled modules for the five-storey building contain all services required for domestic hot water, boosted cold water, rain water harvesting, low pressure hot water for fan coils and underfloor heating, and chilled water for comfort cooling.

Geoff Barnett, who headed up the project for Binks Building Services, said: “There was a very tight timeframe on the project due to the restricted availability of the on-site hoist system for delivering modules to their respective floors.

“Traditional installation was not an option, and it really was a case of modular engineering to the rescue. There was a six week window: we placed the order on 14 January and the system was delivered on 21 February, actually ahead of schedule. It was a tremendous achievement.”

It was the first modular-based solution that Mr Barnett had been involved with. He said: “I have to admit that before this project I was a modular sceptic. However, following its success, I am a believer!”

In addition to speed of delivery, another key benefit was the ability of the modular approach to meet the tight financial milestones for the project. “Cash flow was greatly improved as a result of the approach, and it enabled everyone to achieve the planned payment dates.”

The modules were built at Pipe Center’s Modular Engineering facility in Worcester. Following delivery to site, the pre-tested modules were simply connected up.

“It is a dream to assemble,” says Geoff Barnett. “We used a high pressure crimping method for all pipe joints which means we don’t have to engage in hot-working – with all the constraints this imposes. It’s quicker, cleaner and safer – and produces a top class result.”

Binks Building Services is adopting a modular approach for other current projects, including another health centre under construction – due to tight space limitations on site which make a traditional approach impossible.

This enables modules to be delivered to suit the construction programme. The Wilberforce Health Centre project is the tenth to be developed by Citycare, a partnership between NHS Hull, the city's primary care trust (PCT), and the Sewell Group, in Hull's NHS Local Improvement Finance Trust (Lift) programme. The facility, located in Story Street in the centre of Hull, is expected to open in December.

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