A value engineered specification from Knauf Drywall has simplified partitioning in a major hospital redevelopment on Merseyside by trimming key drywall inventory requirements to just five basic items. The new Whiston Hospital achieves the required acoustic and fire resistance targets with a range of partitions based on three types of Knauf Drywall plasterboard, one type of steel stud and one type of cavity insulation. Value engineering to standardise drywall components can make a significant contribution to site efficiency and cost control.

Redevelopment of Whiston Hospital and new facilities at the nearby St Helens Hospital represent a £338 million Private Finance Initiative for the St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust – the largest single healthcare project on Merseyside since the formation of the NHS.

Due for completion in 2010, the new 750-bed Whiston Hospital has 80,000m2 of newbuild floorspace, and sets new standards with a mix of on and off-site construction technologies. It includes a six storey building to house a range of specialist departments, out-patient clinics, operating theatres, a regional burns and plastic surgery centre, wards and a new Accident and Emergency department. A second phase, due to open in 2011, will see 12,500m2 of existing buildings refurbished to provide laboratories, offices and educational facilities. Other buildings that currently accommodate hospital departments will be demolished when vacated.

Specialist drywall and interior finishing sub-contractor MPG Contracts is using Knauf Drywall systems, sourced through CCF Liverpool, to fulfil its role as a strategic alliance partner to the design and build main contractor, Taylor Woodrow. Bill Power, MPG’s Contracts Manager, says the value engineered specification for partitions streamlines the supply chain and work on site. “It improves efficiency and makes timing and costs more predictable. At Whiston Hospital it is particularly helpful to us in working with the other strategic alliance partners, as the partitioning is tightly programmed around installation of offsite manufactured service modules and bathroom ‘pods’,” he says.

Ian Wood, Knauf Drywall Project Specification Manager, says to meet Building Regulations and the acoustic requirements of Health Technical Manual 2045, partitions at Whiston Hospital are designed for 30, 60, 90 or 120 minutes’ fire resistance and 33dB, 48dB or 53dB airborne sound reduction, depending on their position. “For example, the greatest fire resistance is required in compartment walls, while consultation and treatment rooms require excellent acoustic privacy. All the necessary permutations are achieved in six basic drywall constructions nominally 100mm, 120mm and 130mm thick, using 70mm Knauf ‘C’ studs, with various combinations of 12.5mm or 15mm Knauf Fireshield – or 15mm Knauf Soundshield – and 25mm Knauf Crown Partition Roll,” he says. Knauf Soundshield is used in all acoustic ranges for 30 and 60 minutes’ fire resistance, while Knauf Fireshield provides the required acoustic performance with 90 and 120 minutes’ fire resistance.

Knauf Drywall manufactures a full range of plasters, plasterboards, insulating laminates, dry flooring, drywall accessories, and metal sections for domestic, commercial and public sector applications. Knauf Drywall pioneered carbon neutral plasterboard in the UK with Knauf Futurepanel. Knauf Drywall also actively promotes recycling from building sites and has a zero waste policy in its energy efficient factories at Sittingbourne in Kent and Immingham on Humberside.

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