Health Trust Training Hub

William Rogers Construction handed over the Quality Improvement and Innovation Centre in December 2022 – a £1.6m project to extend and refurbish the health facility based at Newtownards Hospital for the South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust.

The existing building, known as the McWhinney Memorial Hall, was originally used to host social dances for hospital nurses during WW2, but now houses the Trust’s training hub for face-to-face and virtual seminars, meetings and conferences.

William Rogers provided a refurbished main hall for seminars, two meeting rooms, two conference rooms and a kitchen space to be fitted out by the client at a later date.

Major packages included installation of the ventilation, air handling and heat recovery units along with AV and video conferencing systems.

Removal of existing trees to the rear of the building presented a challenge to the project as it required bat and bird surveys. 

“A total of three nightly bat surveys were conducted, which required substantial co-ordination of sub-contractors in order to keep the programme on track,” explained Jordan Mitchell, Contracts Manager for William Rogers Construction.

Phase one involved partial demolition of the existing building; full strip-out and refurb of the remaining hall section; the roof removal, existing steel truss refelted and tiled while the floor was replaced with a new Junckers timber floor. Four new Velux windows were installed along with new windows to the existing external façade. The plant room was stripped out and upgraded with a new heating system installed. A void was created above the existing stage and two extra rooms were built. 

Foundations to the new build section (phase two) were put in place, walls built up and the roof put on. Work was paused while foundations, external walls and roof were built for phase three of the build – a large, connecting steel structure. 

With both phases brought up to the same level, the two flat roofs were covered simultaneously. Painting then commenced throughout the building along with the installation of all fixtures and fittings.

The main hall is part of an existing building which was ‘live’ throughout the works and involved tying in all services, mechanical, electrical, fire alarm and intruder alarm. 

“Any time we were changing over systems, such as the heating, we had to request shut downs,” said Jordan. “These required early morning starts, weekend and out-of-hours work to ensure services were not disrupted in the busy, live section of the building.”

Attention to detail was paramount to deliver a high standard of finish as required by the client. New wall panelling was installed to meet up with the existing panelling in the older part of the building. “This required lining the whole perimeter – about 80m – with timber batons to install the new panelling, which all needed to be perfectly plumb.”

Further landscaping work included perimeter timber fencing, soil regrading and grass reseeding, shrub planting and tarmacking.

Commenting on the completed project, Jordan described it as an important addition to the firm’s portfolio. 

“This was a significant project for the team, completed to a high level of finish,” he said. 

“We spent a lot of time towards the end, to ensure a top notch finish was achieved to reflect the striking design. The new part of the building ties in well to the existing section. 

“We’ve taken an older building and brought it right up to date with a modern extension. We are very proud of it.”

For the full feature on the Health Trust Training Hub, check out Northern Builder 34-1 Feb-Mar here.