Work to lay foundations for new Berwick hospital to begin this week

An aerial image of the initial works to get the site ready for work to install the foundations to begin.An aerial image of the initial works to get the site ready for work to install the foundations to begin.
An aerial image of the initial works to get the site ready for work to install the foundations to begin.
A significant milestone in the building of a new £35million hospital in Berwick is set to be reached later this week.

The project team is ready to start installing the foundations. To enable this work to be done, a piling machine and other equipment is scheduled to be delivered to the site on Thursday (June 8).

This follows the recent update from Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust which said that works at the factory of construction partner Merit in Cramlington, where structures such as pre-assembled modules for the building will be manufactured, are also progressing well.

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Marion Dickson, executive director for nursing, midwifery and allied health professionals at the trust and project lead, said: “It is just fantastic that we are now at the stage where we can lay the foundations of our new hospital.

“I know how pleased we all are in the trust and am sure that all our stakeholders will be too, especially because they will now see major work happening on site. We have all waited so long for this day to come!

“There is something very special about installing the foundations for a hospital, that is being constructed using cutting-edge technology, on a site of such historical importance.

“Archaeological finds show that those that went before us were forward-thinking in their time and we are certainly continuing this innovative approach in how we will deliver the best possible healthcare well into the future.

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“We know that any work of this magnitude will cause some disruption and we once again thank residents, businesses and other stakeholders in Berwick for their patience and support. We will continue to keep everyone updated as work progresses.”

Once the foundation work is complete, the frame of the hospital will be put up and stairs and floors will be installed, along with an accessible rooftop. The building will be clad and glazed externally to weatherproof it and ensure it is watertight.

The offsite manufactured components will then be put in place and the building will be fitted out.

Finally, the remaining old hospital buildings will be demolished, the car park and access roads will be built and landscaping work completed.

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Antony Knapton, project director at Merit, said: “The piling work, which will involve drilling around 750 40-centimetre-wide holes to a depth of five to seven metres and filling them with reinforced steel and concrete, will take around seven weeks.

“We hope to install around 20 piles per day across the hospital footprint, which is circa 120 by 40 metres.

“We would like to reassure residents and other stakeholders that we will do all we can to keep any disruption to a minimum. The piling technology that we have chosen uses a drilling method, rather than banging, so is much less disruptive.

“If anyone has any concerns, they should please speak to members of the team on site or contact us by email at [email protected]

Work will be carried out between 8am and 6pm, Monday to Friday. The new hospital is scheduled to open towards the end of 2024.