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UWE Bristol CC converted into NHS Nightingale Hospital to help fight coronavirus

Our Bristol studio has been drawing on its previous experience of designing large scale healthcare facilities, such as Brunel Building at Southmead Hospital, to help convert UWE Bristol Exhibition and Conference Centre into an NHS Nightingale Hospital.

BDP, alongside main contractor Kier, is collaborating with multidisciplinary teams on site to deliver an initial 300 beds, with the potential to increase bed numbers to 1,000 overall. The hospital is due to accept its first COVID-19 patients by the end of the month and officially opened on Monday 27th April by Prince Edward.

Principal Nick Fairham describes it as “A high pressure, fast-paced environment where teams have 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.’’

He added “We are also pleased that Grange University Hospital in Wales, that we designed for Aneurin Bevan University Health Board in partnership with Laing O’Rourke, has also been able to open a year earlier to help with the battle against COVID-19.”

Similar hospitals have been commissioned in Bristol, Harrogate, Birmingham, Sunderland, Exeter and Manchester. Despite the intensity of the process, this experience may well offer some lessons for the future of construction projects. We published the NHS Nightingale Hospital instruction manual which outlines the fit-out strategies and processes adopted by this project, in order for information to be shared quickly.