Clancy Construction is one of many CIF members delivering essential projects across the country for people who need hospital care as a result of contracting coronavirus. 24-bed single-block. Robbie Cousins reports.
In early February, following the lockdown of the city of Wuhan in China, images flashed on screens across the world of the fast-track construction of a coronavirus hospital. Prefabricated materials enabled fast construction and installation, and the site was open 24 hours a day, with workers completing 12-hour shifts.
In Ireland, observers were quickly learning how offsite construction and a coordinated construction programme can deliver results. One month later, when the first case of coronavirus infection was recorded in Ireland, authorities had to move rapidly to ensure that there was capacity in place to handle the numbers infected and needing hospital care.
Call To Action
With sites identified, HSE Estates put projects out to tender, and a number of CIF members responded to the call to deliver the much-needed extra capacity
One such CIF member was Clancy Construction. The contractor is currently in the midst of two fast-track projects for HSE Estates, delivering a 24-bed single-block unit at University Hospital Limerick (UHL) and another similar unit at Croom Hospital, Co Limerick; both adding medical capacity to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The UHL unit has an on-site programme of just 14 weeks, while the Croom unit, which has a three-storey element, has a 17- week on-site programme. Both projects are on track for completion in July.
John O’Shaughnessy, Managing Director, Clancy Construction, says that the tender for the works was put together in one day, while the design and planning for the project took just two weeks to complete.
“Once everything was in place, we set out a 16-hour-a-day programme, comprising two, eight-hour shifts, with all workers on site observing safety and hygiene protocols set down by the CIF and HSE, including strict physical distancing rules.”
The first concrete was poured on the UHL site on 2nd April, and a light steel structure was quickly erected.
Both projects are using offsite as the method of construction, with a light gauge steel system supplied by Horizon Offsite, and bathroom pods manufactured by LMC Modular, both Tipperary-based companies.
The rapid build light-gauge steelframe system facilitated the early start of the project and enabled its streamlined fast-delivery, which would not have been possible with a traditional build. The offsite manufacturing of en-suite bathroom pods by LMC Modular also ensures that there are fewer truck movements to and from the hospitals during construction.
“Like everyone else involved, both offsite manufacturers have been exceptional in manufacturing and delivering materials and units to site in challenging circumstances,” comments John O’Shaughnessy.
National Action Plan
The UHL and Croom Hospital facilities will be permanent structures, with scope for vertical expansion at a later stage. They are both parts of the Government’s National Action Plan in response to Covid-19.
Speaking about how the projects are progressing John O’Shaughnessy says, “We are moving at spectacular speed and remain on programme to deliver in July. It is great for our company and every person on site to have this opportunity to contribute to this fight in such a constructive way. I have never seen morale as high on sites. Everyone is taking great pride in being able to play such a central part in this national emergency. Our supply chain is also pulling out all the stops to ensure we can keep to the programme.”
John O’Shaughnessy says the coronavirus crisis will have a long-lasting impact on the construction industry and that the way it has operated up to now is going to fundamentally and irreversibly change.
“The industry took a huge blow when sites were shut down overnight. The move to remote working for unnecessary site personnel has brought about previously unimagined efficiencies. I have seen, for instance, that while some face to face meetings are essential, many can be held remotely, removing the need for many time-wasting journeys.
“The technology has been there, but we are only now starting to tap into its full potential,” he continues. “We have been utilising Microsoft Teams to communicate and coordinate our activities since this started,” he continues.
“I can also see the adoption of Lean Construction and BIM as being essential for any company looking to sustain and grow their operations after this crisis, as well as the upgrading of all on-site facilities for workers.
Early Contractor Involvement
John O’Shaughnessy adds that Early Contractor Involvement has been essential to the success of the UHL and Croom Hospital programmes.
“By having Early Contractor Involvement, the client could see firsthand how this speeds up the programme and reduces costs,” he says. “This project is a prime example of how having everyone around the table at the start of the project can help identify and address any barriers to project delivery. It is the only way forward for any future large-scale projects.”
John O’Shaughnessy closes by saying that the project is an excellent example of multi-level teamwork in action.
“I would like to say a particular thank you to all involved in these projects from the client, to both design teams, my own management team and our complete supply chain. The collaboration and teamwork have been outstanding.”
To learn more about Clancy Construction’s work, visit www.clancy.ie
Client Design Team
Architects: Kevin Jackson Architects, Limerick
Civil and Structural Engineers: Punch Consulting, Limerick
Fire Consultants: Maurice Johnson & Partners, Cork
PQS: Edwards Cotter Partnership, Limerick
Architects: Reddy Architecture + Urbanism, Cork
Civil and Structural Engineers: Horgan Lynch, Cork
Fire Consultants: G Sexton & Partners, Waterford
Mechanical & Electrical: Don O’Malleys, Limerick
PSDP & Assigned Certifier: Fortress Planning Tipperary