Guy’s and St Thomas’ appoints ‘historic’ contractor to build new cancer wards

Four brand new cancer wards are being created for Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust – which has chosen a contractor – BAM Construction – that first worked at Guy’s Hospital 70 years ago in 1949.

The construction company has been chosen to deliver the works, which will see four new wards added to the third and fourth floors of Bermondsey Wing, and extensive mechanical, electrical, and pipework upgrades. The Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust is, currently ‘discussing the full contractual details with BAM’ – which is now on site at Guy’s Hospital operating under a pre-contractual agreement to conduct initial works. The full works will see parts of the Bermondsey Wing stripped out to its shell, creating several new en-suite wards, with the teenage and young adult ward being the first phase. Other new facilities will include nursing areas, offices, and a gym.

The UK part of BAM was founded in London in 1874 (as Higgs and Hill), and built its first hospital – St George’s on Hyde Park Corner – a year later. It has now completed over 400 UK hospital schemes in its 150 years in business.

BAM’s partnership with Guy’s and St Thomas’ began in 1949, when it extended the Medical School’s pathology building for the sum of £26,694 – ‘in today’s money around £ 1 million’. BAM went on to deliver another seven schemes for Guy’s and St Thomas’, and in 1991, then Prime Minister, John Major, performed a ‘topping out’ for a series of major infrastructure alterations and a new footbridge.

BAM’s London director, Rod Stiles, said: “Our main challenge – working around the live hospital environment – will require very close liaison, and developing high quality working relationships. One member of our current team even worked on our scheme here nearly 30 years ago, so we have a good understanding of the building.  Of course, everything has changed since 1949. Just as medicine and healthcare have moved on in leaps and bounds, construction is unrecognisable, being much cleaner and safer, and now being undertaken using sophisticated design software, robotics, and virtual reality techniques.

“Our long history makes us London’s oldest major contractor – there are a very few older firms, but none were major players at the time we began trading. That makes it special for us to re-engage with a customer as renowned as Guy’s and St Thomas’, and to celebrate 70 years with a fresh scheme to help people in London recover to live healthier lives.”

Guy’ Hospital dates from 1721, when it was founded by philanthropist Thomas Guy. It was originally established as a hospital to treat ‘incurables discharged from St Thomas' Hospital.

The architect for the cancer wards project – which is scheduled to complete in 2021 – is AHR. The £10 m construction contract is was procured competitively via the Southern Construction Framework.