Julian McCamphill, Operations director at multidisciplinary building and engineering services provider, Dowds Group, gives his standpoint on the challenges facing M&E companies working on healthcare construction projects, both now and in the future.
Massive investment planned for the healthcare sector over the next 10 years, with Government promises of £3.7 billion for up to 40 new hospitals, will provide major challenges. From our standpoint, it is not the technical issues that are the problem – every competent M&E company will be able to deliver on those. It will instead be the ability to cause the minimum of disruption to hospital teams, and the constant focus on delivering quality and attention to detail that will make the difference. Dowds, which is already one of the most experienced suppliers of M&E services to the healthcare sector, will typically be spending the next six months just on planning and design before it is ready to deliver a major new project at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich in south London. During that time, we will also be working closely with the clinicians ‘at the sharp end’ who have to work in the hospital to ensure that every new system and every part of the new infrastructure will work exactly as expected. This indeed is now par for the course for all major healthcare projects. Attention to detail, and a stringent focus on health and safety, matched by an emphasis on delivering quality, particularly applies to work in hospitals, and in our opinion will increasingly become more challenging.”
Attention to detail
“That attention to detail relates to everything we do – right down to knowing that when an operative flicks a switch, everyone is totally aware of what is on the end of that and every other circuit. It could, for example, be a patient on life support, or power to a critical operating theatre – it is that important. For companies such as Dowds Group, the challenge already exists to deliver increasingly complex projects involving Building Information Modelling (BIM), new technologies, and much more. These are already being incorporated into all new contracts – the same applies to the planned major refurbishment of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in south London operated by the Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust.
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