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Healthier outcomes by design

Construction of the £35M Royal Victoria building (RVB) on the campus of the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh presented access and logistical challenges.

Project Royal Victoria building, Edinburgh, Scotland

ClientNHS Lothian

ExpertiseCivil and structural engineering design

The facility provides an acute medical care unit for the elderly in Scotland’s capital city. The RVB, creating 147-beds in single occupancy rooms, had to be built without disrupting or disturbing staff and patients in adjacent hospital buildings. It was one of the first healthcare facilities in the UK to use design for manufacture and assembly, with prefabricated units and components slotted into place like giant lego pieces. Delivered 20 weeks faster than possible using traditional construction techniques, the approach was the product of impressive teamwork.

55% of the RVB was built offsite in factories, enabling better build quality and reduced construction time – the build was completed in 90 weeks rather than 110 for a conventional build. Wall panels were ready fitted with windows, stairs came with handrails pre-fixed, and bathroom pods for each of the rooms were delivered plumbed and finished, ready for connection to building services.

90 weeks

from start to completion – saving 20 weeks

The number of people in Edinburgh over 65 years old increased by 13% between 2007 and 2017 – to 77,000. RVB provides dedicated, state-of-the-art acute healthcare to this community, particularly those with physical ailments or mental health issues. By focusing on the special medical needs of the elderly, the facility promotes their welfare and inclusion.

Design for manufacture and assembly was carried out with the aid of building information modelling (BIM). The detailed 3D model was developed with the architect, hospital staff, the building services designer and contractor Laing O’Rourke. We optimised the structure for fabrication. This, combined with factory production, eliminated waste.

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