A Covid Cure For Epsom Hospital

Epsom Hospital has received an energy efficiency upgrade utilising Rehau’s curtain walling and Total70C windows. The install took place in an active emergency department smack in the middle of the covid pandemic.

The NHS, Rehau, Hanevo, JM Aluminium and the LH&E Cost Consultancy all had to work together to ensure there was no disruption to the emergency department and operating theatres.

Epsom Hospital is a healthcare facility like any other, providing services spanning accident and emergency, diagnoses and more to the people of its namesake borough in Surrey. As a critical piece of infrastructure, its continued operation is vital to the health and wellbeing of the local community. However, like any long-serving site, upgrades to the building’s fabric would eventually be necessary in order for it to remain operational.


Major challenge

“Getting projects across the line in a live hospital environment is a challenge at the best of times, let alone during a global pandemic,” says Dan Kocev, project manager at Epsom and St. Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust. “However, vital energy efficiency upgrades were necessary to bring the site into the 21st century and ensure that it is able to continue providing the best possible environment for care.”

Natanael Florut, project commissioning manager at the Trust, adds: “We had some old timber screens and windows that simply weren’t up to scratch in terms of energy efficiency. While choosing something like Rehau's curtain walling was quite straightforward, I knew that the matter of the installation would be something else entirely, especially as our database did not have too many technical records from when the hospital was initially built.”



Owing to the complex nature of the project, critical infrastructure specialist Hanevo was brought on board to facilitate the design and build. JM Aluminium was then awarded the contract for the installation based on a list of recommended commercial installers and fabricators provided by Rehau. LH&E Cost Consultancy provided cost consultancy and contract administration services.

Noel Hanley, executive chairman at Hanevo, says: “Working in critical infrastructure means that we’re no stranger to complex projects but we knew that this installation would be difficult even by our own standards. However, through close collaboration with Rehau and the other project partners we were able to come up with a design that we were confident would work.

“Jennifer Marshall at LH&E was amazing in helping the entire project team, by financially reviewing the different design options to ensure the design selected met the client’s budgetary expectations. Annie Thomas then successfully managed the project post-contract as contract administrator and kept on top of all commercial aspects in her role as quantity surveyor.

“Kevin O’Neill at Rehau helped out with the drawings and window specification and ensured that the whole project was compliant with building regulations. The section we were replacing backed onto critical operating theatres and quiet rooms that would remain in use during the installation, so the plan was to complete the removal screen-by-screen. This would also help keep the site protected from the elements as we worked through the winter.”


Action plan

With the stage set for the installation, it fell upon JM Aluminium to put the plan into action. “This was one of the most ambitious projects we’ve ever taken on,” says David Morant, a director at JM Aluminium. “The new curtain walling was to be installed over a live ambulance bay and main pedestrian thoroughfare, meaning comprehensive health and safety assessments were necessary. From here, it was clear that we’d need a specialist system to get the profiles up safely.

“We were able to work closely with London Network Scaffolding to design a bespoke hydraulic and mechanical system, adapting the top of the scaffolding and fitting an electric hoist to raise the panels up through the middle.”


Windows in time for winter

Alongside the complex curtain walling installation, the project also saw the installation of 20 Total70 windows in a foil wood grain finish. All in all, the project would take sixteen weeks, beginning in spring 2022 and concluding in the winter.

Kevin O’Neill, a commercial manager at Rehau says: “Collaboration can often be a buzzword across the industry, however I don’t think I’ve worked on a project that epitomises it more than this. The outcome simply wouldn’t have been possible without the hard work and adaptability of our stakeholders, from design through to installation. Minimising disruption was our main priority over the course of the project. The NHS has told us it had few complaints, so we hope to lend our expertise to similar projects in future.”


Picture: Epsom Hospital has received an upgrade with Rehau’s curtain walling and Total70C windows.


Article written by Brian Shillibeer
11th February 2024


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