News | Published April 05 2020

Fifteen hour shifts and 4,000 beds: making a hospital in nine days

The UK’s largest hospital facility, NHS Nightingale, has been built in just nine days, to provide intensive care treatment for coronavirus patients.

Formerly, East London’s ExCeL exhibition centre, the venue was previously used to host expos, conferences, and lifestyle shows.

It is now the UK’s newest hospital and has space for 4,000 beds.

The facility, built in just over a week, has the framework for over 80 wards, each housing some 42 beds. Around a quarter of the beds are equipped with ventilators, and there is space for an additional 3,500 should the need arise.

Were the hospital to reach its full capacity, it would be among the largest hospitals in the world.

The hospital was built with the help of some 200 soldiers from the Royal Anglian Regiment and Royal Gurkha Rifles, who worked alongside contractors and NHS staff.

Engineers and architects from BDP were involved in planning the conversion of the centre into the new facility.

Principal of BDP, James Hepburn, sad that the timeframe and scale of the project were entirely unlike any he had previously been a part of. Architects were drawing up plans simultaneously with the construction process.

The main challenges Hepburn identified was the speed of construction; sourcing a reliable supply of electricity and ensuring medical gases can be associated with each bed.

The beds used have been made from material used for exhibition stands, as it could be constructed with ease.

An instruction manual has been drawn up by Hepburn and his team, and people from Canada and Australia have already been in touch.

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Authored by

Alice Jaspars
Culture Editor
April 05 2020

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