Royal couple open Bridgwater Community Hospital

Clarkebond Director Max Thurgood, was proud to be in attendance at the recent visit of their Royal Highnesses Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex and Sophie, Countess of Wessex, to officially open the new Bridgwater Community Hospital.  Max led the Clarkebond team that provided civil and structural engineering on the project which posed a number of design challenges during its development.

Their royal highnesses met various members of the hospital staff as well as members of the construction and design teams, before taking a tour of the hospital and its departments to meet the patients who are using the hospital which is now fully open.

With the site located within the Bridgwater flood plain, particular design consideration was given to solving surface water and flood risk issues.  Clarkebond successfully negotiated an agreement with the Environment Agency and the Internal Drainage Board to raise general site levels by up to a metre. Quarry waste reinforced with geotextile was used to build up the site level, provide a suitable platform for the piling rig to work from and a smooth clean surface f or the contractor to work on from day one.

The design included fully integrated SUDS on site with porous pavement car parks linked to a new ditch and pond system with ecological enhancements such as a new otter holt, profiling of the pond to provide an otter ledge and landscape planting to provide butterfly corridors  to encourage the bio-diversity of the area.  The integrity of the design was put to the test during the heavy rainfall through January and February and passed with flying colours!

An in-situ reinforced flat slab design was chosen to minimise structural zones and avoid obstructions to horizontal services distribution, which is critical in a hospital environment.  A concrete roof enabled the installation of photo voltaic panels and other mechanical and electrical plant above and also gave total flexibility for the location of patient hoists and other such equipment beneath.
Bridgwater Hospital.

Further challenges were posed when a decision was made half way through construction to add an additional endoscopy department on the side of the building.  Overhead and below ground services already re-routed across the proposed extension site had to be diverted again and the structure re-configured to accommodate the proposed endoscopy department.