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31 October 2017

Going with the flow: Building a 21st Century hospital on an Elizabethan waterway...

It may be the most modern hospital in the UK, but the new Papworth site has one foot in the past when it comes to the intricacies of the local water system.

One of the biggest challenges for the Project Team was in negotiating connection into the centuries-old waterway around the Cambridge Biomedical Campus.

“There is a deed process of how rainwater discharges from the site, part of which dates all the way back to 1610,” said Nigel Heath, Project Director.

“So, you have this brand new, shiny hospital that’s being built in the midst of everything else that’s new and shiny on the campus, and the whole of it is discharging water into a network of conduits and swales and ditches – some of which we know ends up in the Botanic Garden - that have been there for hundreds of years and we’re, of course, tied into that too.

“I think that’s quite interesting, that you have the brand new, but also some of the real history of Cambridge is there at the site as well.”

Meanwhile, the build at the new site remains on schedule.

“The big drive now is towards finishing the building,” said Nigel. “There might be the idea that because our move dates have changed – from April to September – everything has moved and everything will be finished later than planned, but that’s not the case.

“The building itself will be substantially complete in mid-February, and we will take possession of it at that point, which will hopefully include a ceremony of sorts.”

Then begins the installation of the major equipment: the CT scanners, the MRIs, all of the exciting kit for the brand new Cath Labs.

“We were originally going to do all that type of installation work alongside the construction,” said Nigel. “But that would have isolated certain rooms, and it would have meant building around them which in reality is far too

“February to June will therefore be the period for that installation; we will be able to get people on site, but it will need to be in a very controlled way. It will be easier for our staff to visit the site than it is now.”

As well as the work going on inside, Nigel said there were changes happening in the new hospital’s grounds.

“The hoardings are moving; you can start to see into the site a little bit more, cabins are beginning to move out of the way – it’s definitely starting to open out and take shape as a whole hospital site.”