In recent months temporary hospitals have been erected at great speed across the UK to help deal with potential Covid-19 patients and have demonstrated remarkable innovation in our construction sector. The Hub’s Impact Director for Digital, David Philp, visited the NHS Louisa Jordan to learn how digital technology supported the delivery of a temporary emergency critical care facility created to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic in Scotland, located within the SEC Centre in Glasgow and operated by NHS Scotland. This (socially distanced) visit was facilitated by Stuart Brown, Assistant Director (Property and Capital Planning) Health Facilities Scotland (HFS) a division of National Services Scotland. HFS provided support in the creation of the project from design, construction and engineering to operational facilities.

Stuart Brown like many in the HFS and NHSS teams, their principal supply chain construction and special consulting partners, worked tirelessly around the clock to create one of Britain’s biggest hospitals, built amazingly in just three weeks. Brown noted that a normal healthcare facility of similar size would typically take several years to go through business case and procurement stages before the construction and commissioning. Therefore, compressing this timeframe down to only a few weeks was an extraordinary achievement which Brown says evidenced the value of “common purpose, collaborative working, streamlined processes supported by the implementation of digital technologies.”

Brown noted that if anything the project was a lesson in true collaboration and digital technologies were a great enabler helping at its peak the 700 strong workforce to work concurrently and in a co-ordinated manner. The innovative and collective use of various digital tools and solutions across the supply chain partners provided the accurate data needed at the right time to help inform key decisions, give insight and support the unprecedented levels of collaboration required.

Digital tools and cloud bases software as a service were used on site along with 360 degree photogrammetry and QR identification codes to link the digital and physical hospital environments providing accurate and near real time data for progress reporting, resource planning and ultimately enabled the hyper-collaboration required.

                

Brown said that “whilst the success of the project was down to the hard work and endeavours of all those involved it was unquestionable that digital and innovative use of data helped reduce programme, deliver more safely, solve complex problems. Ultimately digital working helped us achieve the unique project and healthcare outcomes that were required. There are many important lessons that we will take from this project about the use of digital technologies which we can replicate on future projects.”

Brown advised that HFS are not new to digital technologies and have been helping support the implementation of Building Information Modelling (BIM) and now an ambitious digital estate programme across NHSS Boards from as early as 2014 and prior to any policy requirements.

Philp said “It is hard not to be impressed by the delivery of this critical healthcare facility in such a constrained timeframe especially the front end briefing and mobilisation stages. The contribution of digital technologies in mobilising this essential healthcare facility demonstrates not just the positive impact of digital but also evidences the maturity and capability in the industry in utilising and benefiting from new tools, processes and the use of accurate data.”

NHSS and the Hub have already collaborated in the development of an interactive process map supported by HFS and the Centre for Digital Built Britain (CDBB) in order to provide a specimen departmental GSL approach. The NHSS GSL process map provides a framework and reference for other departments to create their own specific plan which responds to their unique business procedures and the GSL principle. Brown said “HFS are helping embed soft landings across the NHSS boards and the navigator is already being successfully utilised on several of our flagship projects providing common understanding and unlocking the benefits across the project teams .”

The interactive GSL navigator can be downloaded here


David Philp is the Impact Director for Digital for the Construction Innovation Hub.

With over 25 years in industry David is a Chartered Construction Manager by background and Global Building Information Modelling (BIM) and Information Management (Consultancy Director) for AECOM. He was previously employed by Mace as Head of BIM, and as Technical Services / BIM Programme Director with Balfour Beatty. David has been involved in delivering innovative BIM and digital asset management strategies across the globe from UK, Hong-Kong, Singapore, Australia and the Baltics. He was seconded in the UK Cabinet Office in 2011 as Head of BIM Implementation and has been a key contributor to the UK public sector BIM mandate (GCS 2011-2016) and continues to support through his role with the Centre for Digital Built Britain programme.