The new Balfour Hospital, Orkney has opened its door to members of the public.
The construction of the new Orkney Hospital & Healthcare Facility is the largest construction project on the Isle of Orkney since the construction of Kirkwall Grammar School and Pickaguoy Leisure Centre in 2012.
BHC were responsible for the fabrication and erection of 1,194 tonnes of structural steelwork and the installation of 6,718m2 of metal decking.
The 14,500m2 development provides 49 en-suite bedrooms for in-patients, assessment, maternity and mental health needs. Additional features of the new hospital include; accident and emergency, surgical theatres, day surgery and cancer care.
The £64 million Healthcare facility services the Island of Orkney and will reduce the number of patients travelling to the mainland for routine healthcare and treatment.
When it comes to construction on the outer lying island of Scotland, structural steel framed solutions are highly advantageous. For instance, there is only one concrete batching facility on the island which would not be able to supply the amount of concrete required for a concrete frames solution. Whereas, BHC can fabricate steelwork in Carnwath, South Lanarkshire and ship the materials from mainland Scotland to the site in Kirkwall, Orkney.
The hospital features a complex design and shape; a two storey structure with two inner circle courtyards – one completely enclosed by the building with the other courtyard being a partially enclosed horseshoe shape. The project architects – Keppie – designed a connecting hub to house the hospital’s main entrance, restaurant, shop and waiting areas.
Adjacent to the hub is a long curved structure. The geometry of the design is complex and the curved longitudinal grids are based on several different radii. The steel frame mainly comprises of straight beams, effectively faceted between grids, however, curved steel members were used to achieve the building’s tightest curves. The perimeter columns follow a regular 6m grid pattern with the internal columns being arranged around the tighter curves of the courtyard, varying from 4m to 7m spacings.
The use of structural steelwork to support metal decking made it more straightforward to form the required curves in the floorplate of the building.
A major benefit of a steel frame includes the speed that steelwork can be erected. This was vital throughout the construction of the Balfour Hospital as it permitted the building to be wind and watertight at an early stage, allowing internal trades to progress despite the elements.