The Client – Bedford Hospital And PCI
Bedford Hospital (founded 1903) is a 440-bed NHS hospital based in Bedford, Bedfordshire. The hospital consists of two sites, the North Wing and the South Wing, which comprise a total of 60 medical departments. Bedford Hospital is listed as one of the Top 40 hospitals in the UK, and is the largest employer in Bedfordshire, with 8,000 staff.
KCS Projects were contracted by PCI to reconfigure the fire alarm loop following the refurbishment of a floor at Bedford Hospital. The works took place from March-April 2022 and were valued at £35,000.
The refurbishments had caused several doors and walls to change position. In order to reconfigure the alarm loop, we were required to move the door hold-offs before moving and installing fire detectors and alarms; these were then to be connected to the main security system.
As the hospital was fully functional when we carried out the contract, we had to carefully consider the logistics of this project. We only had access to certain areas at a time, and had to arrange our daily activities around the requirements of the hospital. We were working around other tradespeople in the hospital who were fulfilling their own contracts, and were sometimes asked to move to accommodate patients.
Through PCI, we worked within the advice of the hospital building management on a daily basis, and took on the role of liaison with the hospital's representatives. We were required to work flexibly around the daily routine of the hospital, and this required adaptable working strategies in order to manage our work effectively.
To prevent unauthorised personnel from gaining access to heavy machinery and work materials, we decided to use our own site compound on the hospital premises. This compound was surrounded by Heras fencing, which used access controls to keep the site secure. We also avoided using the hospital’s facilities by utilising our own skips, storage container, and welfare cabin.
Due to the refurbishments carried out by PCI, the structure of the floor had changed, including the relocation of several doors and walls. As such, we were required to reconfigure the alarms in their new position and connect them to the main security system.
To reconfigure the alarm loop, we needed to move the door hold offs so that we could relocate and install the fire detectors and alarms. Once this was complete, we then connected the detectors and alarms to the main security system.
These works were carried out with a contracts manager, who attended the site at least 3 times a week, a commissioning engineer, a working site foreman who oversaw the works and the health and safety setup of the site, and two operatives who implemented the installation of wires and cables.
We were successful at reinstalling the alarms and networking them to the main security system. This enabled the new alarm setup and existing security system to connect with each other, thereby creating one streamlined network that would run reliably to preserve the health and safety of staff and patients alike.
To comply with COVID guidelines and the environmental and HSE safety regulations, we wore masks throughout the works, and work areas were restricted to the public and made fully dust-proof.
All on-site staff were required to have Enhanced DBS checks, and were given security clearance to work on hospital grounds. In addition, we carried out all works in compliance with the British Standard Fire Detection And Alarm Systems For Building (BS 5839).
We were able to meet the requirements of the brief by moving the door hold offs, which allowed us to relocate and install the fire detector and alarm systems. We were then able to reconfigure the alarm system to connect it to the main security system.
To fulfil the brief, we needed to consider the requirements of the hospital at all times during our contract. By working flexibly and adapting where necessary, we were able to carry out the works with minimal disruption to the hospital’s routine.
Through following COVID-19 guidelines and the relevant environmental and HSE safety regulations, and by carrying out the required DBS checks, we were able to maintain high levels of safety and security on-site while complying with infection control protocols.
This enabled us to carry out the works without jeopardising the safety and hygiene levels required in a medical facility.
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