Vaughan Engineering were engaged by Graham Bam Healthcare Partnership and the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust to provide all electrical building services to the Belfast City Hospital AMHIC project.
The first purpose-built facility of its kind breaks the institutional mould and aims to reduce the stigma associated with mental health. An objective that was recognised when the project won the ‘Healthcare Category’ at the 2020 RICS Social Impact Awards.
The unusual design of the centre at Belfast City Hospital provides 80 patient beds in five wards. The wards are arranged as rooms around a garden with bedrooms on three sides and social facilities on the other. It is hoped the experience of using the hospital will be one dominated by moving through gardens rather than the usual equivalent of moving through endless corridors.
Discussing the project, Gavin Toman, Construction Director for Vaughan Engineering said, “There were several major challenges to overcome for this project and it would be our opinion that this building will set the standard for this type of facility due to the solutions which are implemented for many of these challenges.”
Those solutions included an integrated nurse call and staff attack system, which incorporated staff tracking. This ensures that in the case of an incident, it is always clear where the staff members are located in real time should they require assistance. Coverage included all outdoor spaces in the building.
Bespoke, anti-tamper accessories were designed and manufactured specifically for this project to ensure robustness and suitability for this facility. The lighting was also designed specifically and had a complex integrated lighting control system that allows the staff to utilise different lighting scenes depending on the particular treatment. The lighting control system was also integrated via sensors located at different strategic locations allowing staff to use their ID badges to raise the lighting levels quickly in the event of an emergency.
The fire alarm system was enhanced from the requirement of having paper drawing at the fire panels to having monitors. In the event of fire activation it would be clear to the staff and the fire service exactly where the fire activation was thanks to a visual indication.
“Our team’s approach to this project was outstanding in the way it adapted to each of the particular employer’s requirements,” said Gavin. “The collaborative approach adopted between Vaughan Engineering, the main contractor Graham Bam Healthcare partnership, the M&E Designer Aecom and the client, the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, was impressive. It was clear from all sides that the priority was to delivery a facility that was going to allow the staff to deliver the best level of care to patients.”
BIM played a major role in the project, ensuring the services were spatially co-ordinated and all future requirements for access for maintenance and replacement were considered as critical. “We also utilised digital quality management software to ensure any issues were identified and circulated to the respective contractor. This allowed the project to be handed over clear of defects,” adds Gavin.
Vaughan Engineering have a significant wealth of experience in working on healthcare projects and have been involved in the construction of many of NI’s hospital estates. Gavin said, “We pride ourselves in being able to embrace the challenges that these types of projects present. We always adopt a planned methodical approach to our projects utilising the preconstruction period to effectively plan the works to enhance efficiencies when the project starts.”
Commenting on the completed Belfast City Hospital AMHIC, Gavin said, “What makes this project stand out for us was the unique nature of most of the systems. The systems and products mentioned above (nurse call, lighting, accessories etc.) were all tailor-made for this project. They had to be carefully designed and manufactured for the unique requirement of the AMHIC patients’ needs.”
Client: Belfast Health and Social Care Trust
Main Contractor: Graham Bam Healthcare Partnership
M&E Designer: Aecom
Electrical Contractor: Vaughan Engineering Services Ltd
With over 40 years of experience in the sector, Atlas World was the natural choice for the supply and commissioning of the complex fire alarm system and cause and effect strategy for Belfast City Hospital’s new Acute Mental Health Building.
Works included the fire alarm system, fire alarm touch screen mimic panels and the bespoke energy monitoring system and dashboard. This AI enabled system monitors and reports on all aspects of energy usage.
A complex project, but Atlas World had the expertise and skills to step up to the challenge, as Gavin Nesbitt, Trust Account Manager at Atlas World, explained, “The alarm system had to manage the safe evacuation of the patients and staff in an emergency situation whilst also allowing the building to continue functioning with minimal disruption in unaffected areas.
“This required many hours of design and rigorous testing with a team of engineers before it could be handed over to the client.
“In relation to the automatic metering system (Sentinel), the supplied utility meters required our system to be configured to provide the client with usable data. This required further development of the Atlas World Sentinel system to optimise the value of the information gathered.”
This tailored data is used to reduce energy demand to the facility with its associated savings in terms of reduced carbon footprint and utility bills. The Sentinel system is an innovative solution to energy management monitoring requirements being co-developed by Atlas World and its software partners.
“The networked fire alarm system uses floor plan graphics displayed on mimic screens to provide live information using the Drax system to help staff and the NI Fire and Rescue Service locate the areas of activation. It also communicates the alarm activation to the site-wide alarm management system,” said Gavin.
Atlas World was originally formed as Atlas Communications, a telecommunications company. “In the early 80s, the larger multi-building hospital sites used conventional fire alarms and phone systems to communicate fire alarm signalling to central locations and Atlas Fire was born,” explained Gavin. “We started maintaining fire alarm systems and as technology progressed so did the business.”
A management buyout of the fire and security department in 2006 saw 18 employees grow to over 80 presently. Atlas World offers a full suite of products and services to help protect, sustain, connect and maintain their customers’ premises and resources. They collaborate with consultant engineers, design and build teams, M&E contractors, facilities management companies and building owners to optimise the finished product for the end user.
“Service, flexibility, communication and reliability are cornerstones of our business,” said Gavin. “We recognise our staff as our best asset and are proud to have Investors in People accreditation – evidence of the priority we place on staff training and development. We also hold the highest quality accreditations available to the industry.
“Our office and engineering teams have huge experience in delivering complex projects on time, every time. Our flexibility and innovative, pioneering approach to this industry means we are in a position to respond rapidly to advances in technology, ensuring a service and product portfolio in line with the fast pace of our business.”
Commenting on the project, Gavin said,
“It was very rewarding to be involved in development of these essential safety and monitoring systems and be instrumental in the completion of this key regional mental health facility. It is one of Atlas World’s stand-out projects regarding the complexities of incorporating an efficient fire safety system whilst simultaneously maintaining security for both staff and clientele.”
Gavin Nesbitt, Atlas World accounts manager, developed a strong working relationship with Mike Allen from Vaughan Engineering Services Ltd and, alongside Ian Campbell, Atlas World’s CEM (Certified Energy Manager) accredited energy consultant, delivered the project efficiently and on time.
WS Mercer Electrical Wholesalers
WS Mercer supplied a wide range of materials from first fix, lighting, containment and UPS right through to providing all Click Scolmore accessories for the ground-breaking new Belfast City Hospital AMHIC.
Scolmore products supplied for City Hospital include WS Mercer’s Gridpro range, Metal Clad range and their Define Flat Plate in Stainless Steel finish. “Click Scolmore played a major part in what we supplied and the service prior to, during and after sales was, as always, second to none,” said Ken Gibbons, Sales Executive for WS Mercers. “For the Define Flat Plate, we needed to supply specially adapted Stainless Steel Security Screws to provide added protection for vulnerable inpatients.
“We take our approach to service extremely seriously, and will endeavour to always provide a first class service from a first class team.”
WS Mercer Electrical Wholesalers are located in Duncrue Industrial estate, Belfast – owned by Edmundson Electrical, the largest electrical distributor in the UK – and distribute daily throughout counties Antrim, Derry and Tyrone. Their tag-line is, “The Electrical Wholesaler for service,” and with same delivery on over 3,000 stock lines they’re as good as their word.
Commenting on the finished building, Ken said, “We are extremely proud to have partnered with Vaughan Engineering on this project, which is a first of its kind, purpose-built facility.”