Merit begins offsite construction for new Berwick Hospital

Published: 9-Mar-2023

Merit has agreed to manufacture 650 pre-assembled modules (PAMs) and 17 UltraPODs

Construction of Berwick’s new £35 million hospital has begun, after the appointment of Merit as lead construction partner by Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust. 

The Northumberland-based construction company specialises in the use of offsite manufacturing to allow health facilities to be built with quality, speed, and sustainability in mind.

As well as being able to complete a build at a much faster rate, with significantly less disruption to the local area, Merit’s use of offsite cutting-edge technology ensures high quality prefabricated designs and building techniques are maximised to meet the high standards which health care facilities require.

Responsible for a large proportion of the hospital’s services infrastructure and fit-out, Merit will manufacture 650 pre-assembled modules (PAMs), weighing around 195 tonnes in total, and 17 UltraPODs weighing around 300 tonnes.

Our new hospital will...provide a much-improved environment for our staff and patients, enable additional services to be provided and also support staff

The PODs will house all mechanical, electrical and plumbing services. This will include power, lighting, heating, ventilation, air conditioning and fire alarm systems. The PAMS, which will sit underneath the PODs in the ceiling framework, will act as the distribution network for the services into the hospital building.

Merit’s CEO, Tony Wells, said: “We have been working closely with Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and Northumbria Healthcare Facilities Management (NHFM) to develop a design that is zero carbon emissions, has built in infection control and is technically enabled for the future of health care. This is 21st century construction in action. It is always exciting to reach important milestones in a project of this size and scale, and this is certainly one of them.”

Mark Brough, Merit Health’s Project Manager, added: “A very special part of the project will be when the PAMs and PODs are transported to site. It is quite a spectacle to see! I feel privileged to work on something which is so important for the local communities of Berwick.”

Originally built in 1874, the current infirmary is no longer suitable for the efficient delivery of modern-day healthcare. The new purpose-built hospital will re-provide all the existing services to deliver care closer to people’s homes, and house GP practice Well Close Medical Group.

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Once the main build is complete, demolition of the remaining old hospital buildings, with exception of the clock tower, will be carried out. The car park and access roads will be built, and landscaping work completed.

Marion Dickson, Northumbria Healthcare’s Executive Director and project lead, said: “Our new hospital will not only provide top quality healthcare well into the future, but will also provide a much-improved environment for our staff and patients, enable additional services to be provided and also support staff recruitment and retention. It will be something that Berwick and indeed Northumberland and the North East can be very proud of!”

The new hospital aims to complete by the end of 2024.

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