STERIS Sheffield and Leicester NHS

Suite of Sterile Services Departments.


How Merit’s innovative solutions helped to address a complex challenge at a new Sterile Services Department for STERIS.

As a true solutions provider, Merit advised STERIS on this new SSD suite in Sheffield where the leaving water was more than 43°C.

  • Design and construction of Class 8 cleanrooms.
  • Projects included installation of specialist equipment.
  • The Sheffield facility was 2000m² and the Leicester facility 1200m².

Merit has been Principal Contractor for the construction for multiple new sterile service departments (SSD) on behalf of STERIS (formerly Synergy Healthcare) since 2010.

STERIS is a leading provider of outsourced and managed decontamination services for reprocessing surgical instruments, processing in excess of 80 million surgical instruments per year for Acute NHS Trusts. All 4 STERIS projects completed so far demanded similar levels of cleanliness and validation requirements as a consequence of their functional environment and offering. We also have a thorough understanding of Health Technical Memoranda which we had to adhere to during all four projects – which give advice and guidance on the design, installation and operation of specialised building and engineering technology used in the delivery of healthcare.

Of the four SSDs completed so far, two were constructed in units close to nearby local hospitals.

STERIS Sheffield

Merit was Principal Contractor for the turnkey design and construction of the new Sterile Services Department (SSD) for STERIS at Sheffield. The primary role of the facility is the sterilisation of NHS operating theatre equipment. Working closely with Synergy Health on the second project of a four project framework, Merit developed requirements into a detailed design for the turnkey construction of the new 2000m² facility which was within an existing portal frame building. This was the largest facility Synergy had constructed.


  • Construction of ground and first floor offices, goods in/out, and communal areas
  • Construction of plant room to house electrical and mechanical and process equipment
  • Design and construction of gowning, decontamination, sterilizing and packing clean rooms, ISO Class 8
  • Installation of load bearing steelwork to support the ceiling and building services
  • Installation of cleanroom systems
  • Design and installation of all mechanical, process and electrical services
  • Modifications and remedial works to the existing building including the installation of roller shutter doors, windows and personnel doors
  • Management of specialist decontamination and sterilizer equipment installation subcontractor

The class 8 cleanroom environments required specialist systems to ensure water quality for use in the decontamination process which included the installation of sterilisers, trolley washers and turbo wash equipment plus some smaller stand-alone equipment including an ultra wave ultrasonic cleaner. RO plant was installed to treat and soften the water used in the above process; the water system was designed to HTM2031.

As a true solutions provider, Merit advised the client on a particular challenge – the leaving water temperature not exceeding 43°C. Merit developed a scheme whereby two large tanks were sunk into the ground and ran the drainage water (when required, ie too hot) through some plate heat exchangers to shed some of the heat out of the leaving drainage water; all fully monitored via the BMS.

The programming and delivery was fully coordinated so as to allow for the correct build sequence and services install to better predict programme requirements as well as cater for access and storage issues. This reduced a number of potential risks to the project including space management issues, high-level access issues and materials going missing.

STERIS Leicester

Merit was Principal Contractor for the turnkey design, construction and refurbishment of the first project out of a framework of four projects for Synergy Health; to design and construct a new Sterile Services Department (SSD) at Leicester. The primary role of the facility is the sterilisation of NHS operating theatre equipment. Working closely with Synergy Health, Merit developed requirements into a detailed design for the turnkey construction of the new 1200m² facility which was within an existing portal frame building.

Merit competitively tendered and was subsequently awarded the project to design and construct Synergy Health’s new state-of-the-art sterile service and decontamination service in Leicester. The finished look of the building was particularly important to Synergy Health given that the Leicester facility would be their new ‘supercentre’.

Procedural documentation was agreed on contract award including a robust Health and Safety Plan and Project Quality Plan. A detailed programme was also agreed prior to commencing works scheduling all design and construction milestones. Early on Merit had to liaise with local utility suppliers to ensure on-time delivery of external supplies.

Merit worked consultatively with the client team at the design stage to ensure end-user requirements were met in respect of the facility layout and service requirements. A utility matrix was generated from equipment supplier information and agreed with Synergy Health at the start of the design process.

Merit fully designed all-steel mezzanine, process and HVAC plant based on the overall utility matrix. Technical submissions were generated for all equipment and issued to Synergy Health for approval prior to the start of procurement. Design of utility and process equipment related services were completed and signed off by Synergy Health in line with the agreed programme.

The site, located at the end of a cul-de-sac was adjacent to nearby commercial and industrial units with only one road entrance; Merit devised a robust traffic management plan, pedestrian and safety management plan and communications strategy to minimise disruption to other businesses on the site. Deliveries were also planned and managed to suit the demands of nearby businesses.

We installed the steel mezzanine and construction of cleanroom and utility areas. Merit worked consultatively with equipment suppliers to ensure the maintenance of access routes at all times. The facility was built in line with equipment build requirements for example – correct floor preparation, bulkheading in walls etc.

Merit also installed all process and HVAC plant and equipment; electrical plant and equipment and a fully integrated BMS system.

There followed an intensive commissioning period to bring all plant and equipment online. Merit achieved successful closeout and on-time handover to a delighted client.

Merit also worked closely with process equipment suppliers – visiting their sites – to ensure on-time build and to gain a full understanding of the commissioning requirements.