First foundations for new Brighton hospital building

The artist's impression of the new building under construction the Royal Sussex County Hospital
The artist's impression of the new building under construction the Royal Sussex County Hospital

The £468 million redevelopment of Brighton’s hospital has passed another milestone, as the first foundations for a new 11-storey building were set in place.

The Royal Sussex County Hospital is undergoing redevelopment, and new buildings will replace the front of the main hospital site as part of the 3Ts project.

Piling works for the Stage 1 Building at the Royal Sussex County Hospital SUS-170525-130220001

Piling works for the Stage 1 Building at the Royal Sussex County Hospital SUS-170525-130220001

The work, which began in January last year, will happen in three stages and will take nine years to complete.

At the Stage 1 construction area, which takes up most of the south east quarter of the hospital site, departments were moved to other parts of the hospital and buildings were demolished.

Duane Passman, director of 3Ts, said the first piles that form part of the foundations for the new building on the Stage 1 site have been set in place.

He said: “Being able to give over a quarter of a large acute teaching hospital to construction is a major undertaking. The enormous amount of work on that site of the Stage 1 Building to date has been in preparation for the redevelopment’s first new, permanent building. The preparations have included moving clinical services into new, high quality, modular buildings and deconstructing nine different buildings.

Looking across the Stage 1 construction site from the north SUS-170803-121453001

Looking across the Stage 1 construction site from the north SUS-170803-121453001

“Now however, the construction of the redevelopment’s Stage 1 Building is underway.

“Although not visible, the foundation piles mark the transition from preparation to construction. This is the point where the years of planning and preliminary works begin to pay dividends, literally from the ground up.”

The foundation piles, large reinforced concrete columns, sit below ground level and will support the weight of the building. The piling works are starting in the north-west corner of the construction site and will continue through much of 2017.

Jonathan Abbott, project director for Laing O’Rourke, the main contractor for the redevelopment, said: “The beginning of piling works marks a significant start to the main construction and it will be exciting to see the project develop as activity increases on site. We are committed to being a considerate constructor and we do our best to minimise disruption to the surrounding area.

“Despite it not being a legal requirement we’ve signed a Section 61 agreement which details the work being carried out, what time of day it will happen and the measures taken to reduce noise and disruption in the local area.”

The Stage 1 Building will stand on 413 piles in total.

The piles on the northern boundary are being sunk to a depth of 33 metres. The piles that will support the building’s southern boundary, alongside Eastern Road, will be between 10 and 15 metres deep. The difference is caused by the natural slope of the site from higher elevations in the north to lower elevations in the south.

Piles for the building are formed by drilling a hole to the required depth. A reinforced steel cage is lowered into the hole and concrete is pumped in. Once the concrete has hardened the pile is capped, ready to support the building above.

The 3Ts Redevelopment is taking place in three stages. Stages 1 and 2 will provide new buildings on the front half of the hospital site adjacent to Eastern Road.

A new helideck is being constructed on top of the hospital’s existing Thomas Kemp Tower at the same time as Stage 1.

Stage 3 will provide a service yard that will be accessible from Bristol Gate.

The Stage 1 Building is due to be completed towards the end of 2020.