Wernick Buildings’ factory in Port Talbot welcomed visitors to receive a demonstration of their latest modular building system; HMflex. The four-bed hospital ward allowed visitors to experience the same high-quality environment that healthcare professionals and patients would receive.
A result of meetings over several years, NHS Improvement approached the MPBA (Modular and Portable Building Association) and some of its members (including Wernick) to explore the possibility of creating standardised, modular units which could be more easily deployed at scale within healthcare settings. The result was HMflex, a modular building system designed specifically to meet the spatial and technical requirements of NHS wards, providing ward and clinical spaces via standardised layouts.
HMflex is specifically designed to offer a fast-paced, quality solution to fit the needs and requirements of the healthcare sector: the system delivers a fully fitted, compliant four-bed ward with just two building modules. This means that a four-bed ward can be delivered, installed and ready for fit-out in as little as 24 hours. Designed with scalability in mind, extra storeys can also be added later with ease.
Andy King, Deputy Managing Director of Wernick Buildings, commented: “The whole offsite construction industry has been receiving more attention over the last few years due to press and public interest, and healthcare has been a big sector. One of the key benefits, particularly in light of the increased pressure from the COVID-19 pandemic, is speed: this is where the standardised HMflex will have a major impact.”
Working with NHS trusts and fire engineers, the entire exterior envelope of the building system was designed and tested to meet all of Part B non-combustible building regulations. For ease of maintenance and improved performance, at design stage clients can specify which items they want incorporated into the standard design. These include doors, IPS, plumbing and electrics. Full bed and passenger lifts are easily incorporated into the modular design, and specialist areas like operating theatres, MRI functions and pathology units can also be catered to. The completed building is both HTN and HBN compliant.
Andy continued, “We can bring the benefits of offsite construction to facilities as complex as inpatient wards and operating theatres. This is all achieved while maintaining compliance throughout. The HMflex ward block is the first of what we hope will be a series of standardised solutions that will support the NHS in meeting pressures moving forwards.”
Visitors who came to experience the demonstration building included local senior politicians such as Stephen Kinnock, Member of Parliament for Aberavon, Edward Latham, Leader of Neath Port Talbot Council, and local AM David Rees.
Commenting on the unit, Aberavon MP, Stephen Kinnock, said: “I was honoured to be able to see first-hand the incredible hi-tech work of one of Port Talbot’s major employers. It is fantastic that our constituency is home to such well-established firms leading the way on the national stage. I was also thrilled to hear about Wernick’s plans for expansion and the long-term career opportunities companies like theirs are providing for the people of our community.”
Proving the flexibility of the building system, the demonstration ward was disassembled in July and relocated to Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth, where the two building modules form part of a new 72-bed ward building.
Established in 1934, Wernick are proud to be the most established modular building provider in the UK, with decades of experience providing clients with high quality buildings over almost any sector.