Connecting 'The Little Man'
Under the innovative Private Finance Initiative (PFI) agreement governing construction and maintenance of Worcestershire's Hospital, Bovis Lend Lease is both design and build contractor and FM manager. As such, the company has an interest in optimizing every aspect of the construction to reduce its future FM risk.
It is in this context that Bovis selected a Molex Premise Networks shielded Category 5e computer cabling system installed by ABB, to meet the networking needs of one of Britain's most advanced new hospitals. Bovis Lend Lease is a major shareholder in Catalyst
Healthcare Ltd, the PFI consortium appointed to replace the ageing Worcester Royal Infirmary with a new 452-bed hospital and then run it on behalf of Worcestershire Acute Hospital NHS Trust. Bovis Lend Lease is the design and build contractor for the project and the 'hard' facilities manager, over the concession period of 30 years following the end of the construction period.
The requirement on Bovis is to deliver the project to an overall specification set down by the NHS Trust. When it came to the voice and data cabling network for the hospital, Bovis recognised the need for specialist advice, and turned to Molex Premise Networks.
David Orrell, Bovis' Senior Commercial Manager for the project explains: "Molex was very helpful in the initial stages of the project, helping us to drive through our IT strategy with the Trust. They also gave us advice on specific concerns we had to do with meeting the appropriate standards. The level of service we received from them in the early stages persuaded us of the superiority of the Molex solution."
He continues: "We are looking to install the highest specification services and systems that we can on this project; in order to support the hospital's needs over the next 30 years, and reduce our own risk. The Molex 25-Year System Performance, Application Assurance and Product Warranty - guaranteeing the performance of Class D applications on the network for the next 20 years – was another critical factor in our decision."
ABB is the specialist contractor responsible for installing mechanical, electrical, public health and networking services on the Worcestershire Hospital site. The company has worked closely with Molex to implement the network for Bovis.
ABB Netcom Services, a long established partner of Bovis, has an expert Netcom Services team working on site alongside its M&E specialists. ABB had already demonstrated its ability to deliver the levels of flexibility, innovation and service required to support a large PFI project, in the work it is doing at the Calderdale PFI hospital in Yorkshire.
Peter Court, ABB's Senior Project Manager at Worcestershire Hospital: "Molex awarded us their Certified Installer status and have trained our installation teams on their product and best practice. Their technical people are on site regularly to check the installation and confirm their approval for the warranty. The relationship between the two companies works well."
Getting the job done on a project of this scale is as much about relationships between the project management teams as anything else. With all the risk being carried by the construction consortium, and no let-out clauses to fall back on, speed, efficiency and cooperation are of the essence.
David Orrell again: "ABB is a key player in this project. They completed parts of their work substantially earlier than deadline, to give us a significant time advantage in other areas."
"A State-of-the-Art Hospital - 'The Little Man'
The Worcestershire Hospital is referred to by the project team as 'The Little Man' because of the innovative layout of the building with its two legs, body and head. In total, the hospital covers an area of 38,500sq. metres. It includes eight major operating theatres, four of which are specialist ultra-clean theatres for invasive surgery, a large accident and emergency department capable of handling 65,000 patients a year and specialist radiology and scanning facilities.
The Category 5e cable network is designed to meet all the hospital's administrative and clinical communications needs, including the PACS patient medical information system, and various links to outside medical services. Five km of fibreoptic cable and 300km of copper make up the network which has a total of 4,800 points.
"The network installed at Worcestershire Hospital is the highest specification possible under the current ratified standards," said Ian Spicer, Project Engineer from ABB. "It provides two data connections at every bedhead, giving medical staff voice and data access to the network from every patient bedside. In the operating theatres, ports in the overhead pendants are provided for high-resolution CCTV used in surgery. There are also ample points provided in the nurses stations in each ward, in the offices and administration
areas. The network supports Gigabit Ethernet speeds to the desk, and is designed with a 25% growth capacity."
All the data cabling in the hospital is fully shielded, to protect it from the possibility of electromagnetic interference. Basket trays have been used for fast-installed, effective containment.
Lean Construction Installation
David Orrell describes Bovis Lend Lease's approach to the Worcestershire Hospital project as being along the lines of the Egan report Rethinking Construction. The focus on efficiency and productivity goes right through the project to the installation of the voice and data network.
It is here at Worcester that ABB has developed and refined its innovative 'Lean Construction techniques' methodology. 'Just-in time' delivery of cable and components in ready-to-use packaging on manoeuvrable material stillages saves the installation teams significant amounts of handling time. The material stillages are simply wheeled to where they are required and the work continues.
Peter Court is pleased with the results: "Productivity has been increased by 10% as a direct result of the lean construction working practices we have developed here. This has become a flagship site for us. Our methodology has played a significant role in helping Bovis meet its project time-scales."
Life Time Support
Steve Gayton, Major Projects Manager, Molex Premise Networks explains the Molex involvement on site: "We take an active interest in the project, providing technical support to installer and customer - in this case Bovis - throughout. Our involvement at this level is
a firm demonstration of our commitment."
"Further, we have offered Bovis life cycle support for the network here," continues Gayton. "We will perform a full 'health-check' of the system any time they want us to, and advise on performance levels, maintenance and upgrades.
The relationship with ABB continues to flourish too. "This was our first job with Molex," explains Richard Jones, Design Manager, for ABB's Netcom Services team. "We were very impressed with the level of technical support and service, and have been involved with
Molex on a number of other projects since." The 33-month Worcestershire Hospital construction project began on April 1st 1999 and the hospital will be open for patients in the spring of 2002.