Located in Kirkcaldy and operated by NHS Fife, Victoria Hospital provides a wide range of services to patients across the region including Accident & Emergency and Minor Injuries Services. The hospital contains approximately 300 staffed beds and has a full range of healthcare specialties. Meanwhile, Lynebank, which is also run by NHS Fife, was established as a specialist hospital for people with learning disabilities.
In order to address issues with some of the old windows, NHS Fife enlisted M&S Windows to find a suitable solution following a number of successful projects upgrading various healthcare buildings within its jurisdiction. This demanding healthcare environment required expert consideration from a specialist contractor and therefore M&S Windows was selected for both projects based on the team’s familiarity with the sector’s nuances.
“24 years working with health organisations has given us a sound understanding of how hospitals work and we appreciate there is no room for error. The health and safety of staff and patients is paramount and therefore minimising disruption to day-to-day operations, during building maintenance, is crucial. With recent global health events further highlighting the UK population’s reliance on the NHS and its hospitals, it is more important now than ever that healthcare buildings and facilities are of the highest of standards.” explains Derek Sinclair, Director at M&S Windows.
A concoction of challenges
Derek initially visited both hospital sites with the estate managers to assess the issues. It soon became apparent that an upgrade from the existing timber windows was required - they were installed in 1965, were making the buildings inefficient, and demanded additional maintenance. Both properties had specific areas of concern, with around 50 windows needed in the main canteen at Victoria Hospital, and 300 new windows for the offices and Learning Disabilities Services wing at Lynebank Hospital.
Access to the wards and canteen also presented a unique challenge. Specifically, safety and security were of high importance to Victoria Hospital due to the purchase of a new MRI scanner worth over £1.3 million. Additionally, Lynebank hospital unearthed a potential asbestos presence in the old windows which posed a health risk. As such the building owners recognised their duty to manage the asbestos problem as outlined in the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012.
Framing a remedy
Working with REHAU fabricator DP Windows based in Fife, M&S Windows specified, manufactured and installed c.350 of REHAU’s Total 70C casement windows in white across the two buildings.
The versatile window solution was acknowledged for its ability to deliver on each of the hospital’s needs to a market-leading standard. For example, the double-glazed sealed units were able to considerably reduce outdoor noise levels which was critical for units where sensitive procedures and conversations were occurring.
With hospital costs regularly making news headlines – the most recent NHS energy spend estimated to be near £500m last year – any energy saving measures are most welcome in this sector. Again, the REHAU TOTAL70 system has excellent thermal properties achieving an A rating, the highest possible Window Energy Rating (WER) for thermal efficiency, and so suited this application perfectly.
Additionally, the profiles contain a unique compound with a smooth gloss finish, guaranteeing to retain their pristine appearance and never warp, rot or need painting. This was a welcome update for the estates teams as capacity restrictions meant they needed to be able to focus their time and efforts on other areas of the hospitals when it came to maintenance.
As well as keeping maintenance teams happy, the REHAU TOTAL70 window system promised to provide all staff and patients with peace of mind in regards to safety and security. This is achieved through the British Standard BS7950 and PAS 23/24 security standards.
Derek was particularly proud of how smoothly the two projects went. “40 years of fitting windows has shown us that each job is different and that we need to respond to the specific needs of building occupiers. With support from DP Windows, REHAU and the estate teams, we worked up a phased programme with the staff to ensure facilities downtime was minimised,” says Derek. “Because the Total 70 profile is so easy to work with due to the 70mm depth, it means there’s no requirement for additional trimming when replacing old timber frames. This meant we could get the job done efficiently without compromising on install quality,” continues Derek.
A healthy outcome
Most importantly, the estates teams and end-users have seen a significant improvement to the building environments and have realised beneficial savings in energy costs due to the installation of the new efficient windows. And, upon completion of the projects, many of the staff and patients were complimentary of the two hospitals’ window transformations according to Estates Manager, David Lowe. He commented:
“When it comes to prioritising health and safety of our staff and patients, we had to ensure the project ran smoothly. M&S Windows went above and beyond our expectations, even working over weekends when required, so that our facilities could be kept open as much as possible. We are really pleased with the outcome and believe that the REHAU products installed really solved our challenges.”