Industrialised construction pioneer Merit appointed to deliver new Elective Hub at Solihull Hospital

Northumberland-headquartered Merit, the UK’s leading industrialised construction and digital manufacturing specialist, has been appointed by University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Trust Foundation to design and deliver its new state-of-the-art Elective Hub (Operating Theatre Block).

Piling commencement and works to lay the foundations began on site today. Utilising advanced 4D BIM modelling technology and an innovative product-based approach means that Merit’s specialist team can deliver both offsite and on site works for this modern facility in parallel, to ensure a faster, more cost-effective project schedule with sustainability in mind.

The £25m NHS project is a first-of-its-kind for Merit and will include the provision of a two-storey building, encompassing six high-quality theatres (3 ultra clean & 3 robotic) and supporting services to increase capacity for elective procedures at Solihull Hospital, resulting in an estimated additional 15,000 treatments each year.

Merit’s team, inclusive of 90+ Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) specialists, will utilise its FLEXI POD® V5.1 Healthcare platform upgrade to deliver this facility. FLEXI POD® is Merit’s hybrid solution, comprising aspects of Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) for the shell and core, and a digitally manufactured offsite fit-out facilitated through a POD and Pre-Assembled Module (PAM) strategy.

Leveraging an offsite approach will allow for the hub’s completion by May 2024, with Merit delivering the project in only 10 months from start on site. This includes concept design and planning and commissioning. Merit will manufacture 81% of the new elective hub offsite at its Cramlington-based manufacturing facility.

With productivity, innovation, and sustainability at the core of the business, Merit’s expert team design and manufacture the delivery of high-quality facilities for the bioscience, pharmaceutical, healthcare, semiconductor, EV battery and aviation sectors. Merit’s innovative approach is especially suited to meet the current needs of healthcare facilities, enabling the highest level of infection control and easy adaptability for future needs.

Merit’s commitment to driving measurable improvement for sustainability means that the facility has been designed to BREEAM Very Good rating and is zero Scope 1 Carbon enabled.

In line with Merit’s growth plans, this recent contract announcement follows a number of high-profile project wins in the healthcare and bioscience sectors, including Moderna’s new clinical biomarker laboratories at its Harwell Campus, Oxfordshire, Berwick’s long-awaited new £35m community Hospital with the Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and the UK’s first purpose-built CAR-T cell manufacturing facility for Autolus Therapeutics.

Tony Wells, CEO of Merit, commented: “At a time when waiting lists are at record highs, we are really proud to be supporting the NHS with this landmark contract which will allow a significant number of people access to the treatment they need. This is the first NHS theatre we will be delivering and is another milestone in our own progress and development which has seen Merit disrupt the traditional construction approach. We have re-invented our entire company around a proprietary integrated product platform so that we can design and manufacture technically complex facilities in our Cramlington-based factories to deliver repeatable successful project outcomes, from faster timescales to cost certainty and sustainability.”