Architecture and engineering firm BDP and contractor Kier are working together to help convert a major conference centre in Bristol into the latest NHS Nightingale Hospital.
The companies are helping to convert the UWE Bristol Exhibition and Conference Centre into the temporary hospital to aid in tackling the coronavirus crisis.
Due to accept its first patients this month (April) the Bristol office of BDP is providing the design and engineering advice and skills to convert the centre collaborating with clinicians, consultants and contractors on site.
The hospital is set to deliver an initial 300 beds, with the potential to increase to 1,000. BDP has previous experience in designing large-scale healthcare facilities such as the Brunel Building, at Southmead Hospital, and liaising with its team at the ExCeL Centre in London.
The NHS Nightingale instruction manual published by BDP sets out its processes used at the ExCeL Centre, and helps provide guidance for the construction of other locations in the UK and around the world. NHS Nightingale hospitals have been commissioned in Harrogate, Birmingham, Sunderland, Exeter and Manchester.
BDP principal Nick Fairham said: "The team has to think differently and challenge industry norms to ensure the new Nightingale Hospital opens on time with the facilities needed to support patients and staff.
"Delivering hospital facilities in exhibition centres and stadiums is unprecedented, so we have been drawing on our previous experience of designing large-scale healthcare facilities like Southmead Hospital in Bristol and Grange University Hospital in Wales which is to open a year earlier than scheduled to help tackle the coronavirus pandemic.
"We are working closely with clinicians to ensure that every bed can be fitted with all the equipment required to treat Covid-19 patients and be cared for by dedicated staff in full PPE equipment. However, it is the scale, timeframe and purpose of this emergency facility that distinguishes it from any previous healthcare projects."
Anthony Irving, managing director for Kier Regional Building Western and Wales, added: “This temporary hospital at the conference centre at the University of the West of England is vital to help support the NHS efforts with the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We have been agile to respond to the needs of the NHS and I’d like to thank our supply chain partners, as well as Kier Professional Services who are providing us with engineering support. The teams are delivering this new medical facility with such skill, determination and commitment.”