sustainablehealthcare-headA SUSTAINABLE HEALTHCARE SYSTEM
Michael Clarke, Health Manager/Procure 21+ framework manager at Willmott Dixon explains how retrofit and refurbishment are key to creating a sustainable healthcare system.

Willmott Dixon’s activities extend beyond contracting to promoting innovation. What does the latter involve?

We put some exciting new ideas into
our Willmott Dixon Healthcare Campus on BRE’s Innovation Park; the sort of thing that shapes industry’s adoption
of next generation technology.

For example, when the building went
up four years ago, it was raised 1ft off the ground with a ‘well’ underneath.
The well was designed to maintain a constant temperature and we used it to cool the IT server room. Two years ago, we extended the well so that we could pipe cool air to the top of the building using a special ‘air chimney’.

The air chimney idea is used in the Primary Care Centre that we constructed for NHS South of Tyne & Wear in Houghton-le-Spring. Working with the company behind the ventilation system, Breathing Buildings, we incorporated the air chimney as an integral part
of the building’s design. This feature contributed to the project becoming
the UK’s first health facility designed
to BREEAM Outstanding.

How are you tackling broader issues on the government’s health agenda, notably assisted living?

We were part of the team on the Technology Strategy Board’s Assisted Living Innovation Platform (ALIP) project which started three years ago.
We provided contractor input, looking
at impact on the home and on the health service.

We used our healthcare campus as a demonstration area for technologies from ALIP partners. More examples of these technologies will be demonstrated in the building during Insite11.

What have been Willmott Dixon’s key achievements in the healthcare market?

Firstly, we are on the Department of Health’s ProCure 21+ national framework. This means we are one of only six companies in the country that any NHS client or joint venture can use to procure fast-track solutions.

Secondly, as I mentioned already, we have delivered the UK’s first health facility designed to BREEAM Outstanding in the Houghton-le-Spring project. It’s attracting huge interest as the health sector looks at new ways to reduce running costs in energy intensive buildings.


As a business that has been praised for its sustainable approaches, how are you delivering sustainable buildings and communities?

Environmental champion Jonathon Porritt is a Non-Executive Director of Willmott Dixon Group. George Martin, our Head of Sustainable Development, was a contributing author on the NHS carbon reduction strategy, while our Head of Energy, David Adams, helped create the zero carbon definition for homes with Grant Shapps and his team at the DCLG.

Also, George and I are members of the routemap team brought together to create a framework for a sustainable health system, established by Dr David Pencheon, Director of the NHS Sustainable Development Unit.

Last year we diverted 91 per cent of our site waste away from landfill, carried out 14 post occupancy evaluations on completed buildings and spent over 60 per cent of our project budget on businesses within 30 miles of the site.

Behaviour within buildings is key to energy performance; we have installed real time monitors in each office to monitor energy consumption, showing our own staff how serious we are!

How active are you in sustainable retrofit and refurbishment?

The NHS agenda is now very much about spending to save. The projects coming out of Procure 21+ often involve refurbishment in order to facilitate disposal.

Willmott Dixon has created a specialist team to look at refurbishment and energy efficiency. We are also adding knowledge and value through projects like Singleton Hospital in Swansea, Wales, which we are re-cladding to increase the hospital’s energy efficiency. In this project, we’ve undertaken careful analysis of the glazing to achieve the best lighting levels and solar gain.

Michael Clarke is a guest speaker at the morning conference on Wellbeing on Wednesday 5 October at Insite11. Visit Willmott Dixon in their Community Healthcare Campus on the BRE Innovation Park.