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In their own words: Matt Loffman, Design and Technical Manager, Interserve Engineering Services on his experiences building the new NHS Nightingale Hospital Birmingham
Matt Loffman, who lives in Staffordshire, is a Design and Technical Manager at Interserve Engineering Services. He has worked hard over the past two weeks to deliver the new NHS Nightingale Hospital Birmingham.
As the principal contractor, Interserve Construction delivered the first phase of the hospital in just two weeks on behalf of the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust. More than 400 employees and contractors and 60 Gurkhas from the British Army worked more than 86,000 construction hours on the project.
Here, Matt shares his experiences of working on one of the most ambitious construction projects of his career.
“My very first involvement was talking to Project Director, Vince Kesterton on the Friday prior to our selection to understand what support Interserve Engineering Services (IES) could provide. It was at this point I understood 500 beds were to be delivered by April 27.
“Meetings continued on Saturday and Sunday to ready our team of engineers with Tony Nicholls and our designers Hoare Lea and partners led by Steve Clifford.
“So, the first meeting on Monday morning - me, Tony and Steve met with the NHS, Ministry of Defence and the NEC together with their partners to understand the task ahead of us. It’s now 600 beds, not 500, in two weeks from a standing start. Okay, I thought - we’ve got our designers who worked on the London Nightingale we have got this. The ever-evolving brief took this up to 800+ beds and created an even greater challenge but one we all rose too.
“I can still remember the call on the Monday to our framework lead Oliver Hollick. He offered his complete and absolute commitment to supporting this project (as he does to any project) and in doing so asked whether he should make some calls to our loyal and dedicated supply chain. I responded in the only way I knew at the time – I said to ring them all and get them on standby.
“One of the numerous challenges we had to overcome was critical power to the beds given the nature of the treatment being undertaken. Designing and procuring switchgear as well as the power source for such an environment is like a typical mission-critical facility – you just have no time to do it. It would be remiss of me not to mention Schneider Electric, Eaton Electric, Constant Power Services and Total Power Group for rising to this specific challenge in delivering on time and to the standard we expect every time on a “normal” design and procurement period.
“I’ve always had the highest confidence in Interserve Engineering Services’ operational capability but quite frankly this project is up there with any our company’s achievements over the last 75 odd years of trading. To deliver this project safely, on time and to the satisfaction of the NHS shows that you must know what you’re doing. This is only possible through our dedicated and collaborative staff, on-site technical experts and fantastic supply chain whose dedication to this cause has been amazing.
“I’ve been lucky to work on some great projects both in the UK and overseas in the last 20-plus years. However, there was a distinct and overwhelming feeling of national pride in being part of the team in delivering this project. I’m proud to have played my part in supporting Tony and Vince in the successful delivery. It’s something that will live with me forever.”
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