No matter where they live or what type of community they are part of, everyone relies on good health care provision to help them feel more secure about life. From the very young to the very old, health care facilities are places where we need to feel welcome and looked after, and the physical environment plays its part in establishing this kind of context.
Anwyl has been involved in many health care construction projects across North Wales and the North West, and many of the characteristics of our way of working are particularly beneficial to health care clients.
For instance, our commitment to managing costs, finding innovative solutions, increasing efficiencies and streamlining processes makes a big difference on projects where budgets can be very constrained.
Our thoughtful approach to construction also extends to the sustainability of every project, with everything from the carbon agenda to energy use to the harvesting of rainwater all making sure that health care buildings meet environmental standards.
Understanding health care
While these issues are common to most sectors in which we work, health care does bring with it some very specific requirements, and our teams place a priority on collaborating with clients to ensure that these needs are met.
From doctors’ surgeries to medical centres and other care environments, different rooms can have very different functions, and it is important to recognise the needs of a variety of users right from the start. The provision of power sockets, the location of lighting, and the need for large pieces of equipment can mean different rooms require custom layouts and design adaptations during the build, while rooms for children and adults also need to be designed with the end user in mind.
Meeting community needs
Sometimes, our health care projects can serve a variety of other functions too. For example, at the Kingsmill Medical Centre in Wrexham, the project combined homes for older people with a community centre, women’s refuge and a medical centre.
Similarly, at Chirk Court in Chirk, we worked with a social housing provider to develop a care home environment with a combination of kitchens, lounges and other residential facilities together with specialist en suite bedrooms in which medical care can be administered as required.
Health care construction projects often require us to work in a live hospital environment, meaning that we must plan extremely carefully so as not to disrupt patients’ critical care. The logistics of delivering and removing materials from the site must never impede the movement of emergency vehicles, while dust and debris must be prevented from causing contamination. And of course, the physical safety of patients and visitors must never be compromised.
While life goes on
At Abergele Hospital, we worked successfully within just such an environment to refurbish an existing building and turn it into a new ophthalmology centre, working with key stakeholders to ensure disruption was minimised and critical care was safeguarded. This included managing the decontamination of areas riddled with asbestos, a process that entailed a number of unplanned works but which did not impact on the project’s completion date.
On a smaller scale, but taking no less care, we worked with the Pennaf Housing Group to develop a new doctors’ surgery in Llanrwst. In this instance, we took over the project as a result of a previous contractor going into liquidation, so we had to act quickly to form relationships with all stakeholders and get to grips with what was required. The site was a listed building, which meant taking extra steps to collaborate with heritage and conservation bodies and ensure that the construction programme proceeded in line with regulations.
Another aspect of the way we work that is of great value to health care clients is our commitment to after care services. Once a project is complete and the building is handed over, we continue to liaise with clients and other stakeholders to make sure that all elements are performing as they should, and that issues arising through use are identified and dealt with appropriately.
Key to this process is the nomination of our Aftercare Manager Ed Wild, a single point of contact who remains familiar with the project throughout. Clients can be sure that when they contact Anwyl, they will be speaking to an after care specialist who understands the project and who can get the right people together to address the issue.