Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Design and build of new sterile services facility.


Fast track delivery of new sterilization facility.

  • Design and build.
  • Mechanical and electrical.
  • Prefabrication and modularisation.
  • Installation of process systems.
  • Merit adapted its modular Merit ‘Instant Building’ concept to deliver the Trust’s architectural building requirements.
  • 90% manufactured offsite at Merit’s 270,000ft² factory. 60 modules used including 59 Pre-Assembled Modules (PAMs) and 1 UltraPAM.
  • Infection control embedded solution in a zero carbon emissions building.
  • Our unique offsite manufacture approach and building platform is compliant with the Governmental Guidelines and strategy on Modern Methods of Construction (MMC).

In 2020, Merit was awarded to design and construct Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust’s new build sterilisation services and decontamination supercentre, built next to its emergency hospital in Cramlington.

The new CSSD is carbon neutral and provides a critical support service for the trust and other healthcare organisations. It has the ability to disinfect and sterilise more than half a million pieces of medical equipment a year used in a wide range of departments and in GP practices – an increase of 200,000 pieces of equipment currently being sterilised.

The Trust required the facility to be operational in record time and had already designed the external shape of the 1500 m² building and gone to planning when Merit became involved. Merit received two layout drawings and a rendered image of what was required, from which the Merit team were able to produce a fixed price offer using our platform FLEXI POD® design with zero carbon emissions in only 17 days.

The ability of Merit to price a complete detailed breakdown of the building internals and process equipment allowed a quick and easy workshop based agreement of the scope and specification including potential future flexibility.

The Merit team engaged in collaborative workshops with the Trust Estates and infection control teams and the Trust Authorising Engineers to demonstrate both compliance with the HTMs but also the pathogen control upgrades afforded within the Merit platform design.

Collaborative layout discussions in particular with the users of the sterilisation facility optimise the layout around their particular operational requirements including personnel, material, consumable and waste flows. This direct engagement was well received by the NHS staff to ensure that their brand-new facility meet exactly their functional and quality requirements.

Working closely with the Trust, Merit provided a Zero Carbon solution for less capital cost allowing the Trust to operate the facility at least 1 year earlier than typical building procurement at the price they could afford.

The HVAC design was based on achieving ISO 7 cleanroom conditions (equivalent to Grade C or class 10,000) utilising recirculation systems with HEPA filtration in air handling units. Air socks were utilised for air distribution. Full fresh air was used in the dirty wash area. We used modular cleanroom partition systems utilised extensively in pharmaceutical cleanrooms, which provided a smooth easily washable surface.

Throughout the design process, we had to fully consider HTM and HBN compliance. The focus was to address contamination control early on in the design. Although this is not a MHRA licensed facility, achieving HTM and HBN compliance is of a similar complexity.

BIM models were organised far more efficiently, minimising material uses whilst at the same time improving maintenance access.

“Merit demonstrated their extensive experience in this specialist area and proposed a zero carbon solution that meets all of our specific requirements while achieving added environmental benefits”

Damon Kent, Managing Director, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust