Northumberland offsite construction firm reaches significant milestone in delivery of new healthcare facility for Norwich hospital

Cramlington-based Merit, the UK’s leading industrialised construction and digital manufacturing specialist, has transported its first Air Handling Unit (AHU POD) to the site delivering a new therapy-led rehabilitation unit at Norwich Community Hospital.

Weighing 20.5 tonnes, Merit’s AHU POD is the first offsite component of the building to be delivered, after travelling 300 miles from the North East to Norfolk.

Earlier this year, Merit announced the multi-million-pound project with Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust. By utilising its 4D BIM modelling technology and using the new V6 UltraPOD® SFS Variant, Merit’s expert team can deliver the new unit by August 2024, guaranteeing a faster, more cost-effective project schedule with sustainability in mind.

The project will be the first of its kind using Merit’s new V6 UltraPOD® SFS Variant, an extension to the already effective UltraPOD®, which has been successfully deployed to other healthcare, biotech and pharmaceutical facilities across the UK, including Berwick’s long-awaited new, 10,500m2, £35m community hospital and Solihull Hospital’s new Elective Hub (Operating Theatre Block).

To meet ever changing and increasing demands, the V6 UltraPOD® SFS Variant utilises Merit’s latest roll former, panel line production system to enhance affordability and accessibility through a significantly reduced programme. The V6 platform comes as standard, rated BREEAM Excellent as a minimum, EPC-A, and energy consumption is 69% lower than the current CIBSE hospital benchmarks.

When complete, the facility will house 48 beds across a mix of single and four-bedded bays, as well as treatment areas, an assessment kitchen, a self-service café, and a reception area.

By focusing on therapy-led services, the Willow Therapy Unit aims to facilitate seamless transitions for patients from hospital to community care, alleviating pressures on local acute hospitals.

Tony Wells, CEO at Merit said: “We’re delighted to be working collaboratively with Norfolk Community Health & Care NHS Trust to deliver this new facility, which will bring improved healthcare services to the local community.

“The successful delivery of our AHU POD from our Cramlington factory to Norwich Community Hospital represents our commitment to delivering high-quality healthcare facilities efficiently and sustainably, while working within the healthcare sector to deliver bespoke solutions that meet local need and make a tangible difference to the community.

“At Merit, sustainability is at the heart of everything we do and we are very proud as we continue to optimise our product offering, so that we can provide the go-to choice for swift and efficient project delivery.”