Trio of offsite-built ward buildings to be completed this month

Modular construction specialist, Darwin Group, has completed the first of three new ward buildings for NHS Trusts across Britain – at the Royal Albert Edward Infirmary in Wigan, with the other two set to be finished this month.

Amid the height of the UK’s COVID-19 lockdown, the offsite build specialist completed the new permanent emergency Nightingale Ward for the Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust. The modular build was designed, manufactured, and completed on site ahead of schedule in less than 40 days. The ward accommodation facility will support the local community throughout the COVID-19 pandemic with an additional 50 inpatient beds, split across two separate Nightingale wards – both ready to occupy.

Chris Knights, Deputy director of Strategy and Planning at Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are now better placed than most to manage the COVID-19 crisis. The team ethic, professionalism, and sheer determination shown to get this project completed in a time of such uncertainty is to be commended. Darwin Group was able to provide a slick service, enabling us to meet current demand – its construction process is of the highest quality and this experience will stay with me for the rest of my career.”

Darwin Group’s modular building solutions are manufactured in a highly controlled environment at its Shrewsbury production facilities. The company says this ‘critical element of the supply chain’ ensures ‘complete quality management and greater flexibility to plan production to meet demand’.

Charles Pierce, Darwin Group’s MD, added: “As a proud British company, we wanted our people to make a difference towards the national effort in battling coronavirus. Their expertise in modern methods of construction will allow us to deliver three new high-quality, permanent hospital wards at a time when they are needed most.”

Darwin Group is also in the process of building, and is expected to complete during July, new ward buildings at New Cross Hospital, Wolverhampton, for the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, and at Barnet Hospital, for the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust. It added: “The complex nature of these projects made it necessary for significant works to progress within a live hospital setting during the construction phase. Our commitment and dedication to adapt and strengthen our already comprehensive site working practices to observe social distancing measures successfully enabled us to provide these much-needed facilities in spite of the global COVID-19 pandemic. This crisis has further emphasised the benefits of utilising modern methods to construct buildings offsite and deliver against previously impossible deadlines.”