Circle Birmingham hospital built at ‘30 per cent lower cost’
Bryden Wood has designed a new hospital for Circle Health Group in Edgbaston which ‘combines form and function to boost clinical outcomes’, and ‘reinvents hospital design’ by being delivered at 30 per cent lower cost than 'comparable hospitals'.
Bryden Wood is the architect and engineer for the new 18,000 m2 hospital on the site of the former BBC Pebble Mill Studios in Edgbaston’s Health Quarter. Built by Simons Construction / Imtech, it has five operating theatres, 30 recovery beds, and 140 bedrooms, a comprehensive imaging department, and a rehabilitation facility. The company says that while the typical per square metre NHS hospital stock cost in the Midlands is £3,000-£3,500, for Circle Birmingham, it achieved a per m2 cost of £2,300.
Bryden Wood and Circle Health Group collaborated closely to establish a design that separates critical, ‘high-tech, high-spec’ space from non-critical to set up the building typologies in line with the appropriate clinical departments. This ‘significantly reduced costs’, and allowed the hospital to grow when it was decided mid-construction to expand vertically to double the size of the initial brief.
Bryden Wood said: “We applied our Design to Value methodology, analysing multiple processes throughout the building to produce a rationalised design delivering efficiency and value. Clinical, operating, and recovery areas, are all together on one floor.”
Paul O’Neill, Board director at Bryden Wood, explained: “The cost savings here signal a step change in how hospitals are designed and constructed. Our focus on value prioritises the building’s aesthetic and human properties, so these savings come from efficiency in design, not a compromise on quality.”
Construction started in 2017 with a 10,400 m2 scheme, but the business model evolved rapidly, with Bryden Wood appointed to deliver a much larger, 18,000 m2 facility. A phased strategy allowed the building to be ‘expanded in different directions at different times’.
Given the hospital’s location in the Edgbaston Health Quarter, working in keeping with the area’s character and sightlines was essential. Bryden Wood designed a hospital that ‘instead of building higher and higher, was horizontal in focus’.
Paul O’Neill said: “Building new facilities that can grow and change over time are high priority for both the NHS and private health organisations. This hospital will be seen as an example of how to successfully future-proof design.”
The project continues Bryden Wood’s long-standing partnership with Circle Health, which began with Circle Reading Hospital and, this year, will see one of its architects f seconded to Circle Heath to develop its estate of 57 hospitals following Circle’s acquisition of BMI Healthcare. Separately, Bryden Wood has been advising the Government on its Hospital Infrastructure Plan.