Foleshill Health Centre is the UK’s first PassivHaus primary care healthcare building, breaking valuable new ground in the NHS drive towards zero carbon by 2040. It provides GP premises serving 10,000 patients.
Project challenges are reflected in its gestation period, with Outline Business Case receiving approval in August 2018 and Final Business Case (FBC) concluded in July 2020. NHS England and Coventry & Rugby Clinical Commissioning Group gave conditional approval in July 2020. An 11 month flourish of offsite and on site activity followed, from finalisation of design development drawings to procurement, offsite fabrication and site erection of modular sections in December 2020 and onsite completion May 2021, without any significant Covid19 related delays. Conclusion of a ground-breaking 619m2 2 storey 14 module building to PassivHaus standards in such a short space of time is testimony to the collaborative team working of all parties up and down the supply chain, once the compelling financial and energy models persuaded the NHS to proceed.
Despite the post business case speed at which design was finalised, it developed over a number of years of Early Contractor Involvement and underwent independent Design Quality Indicator assessments; the last facilitated by Rider Levett Bucknall in November 2018, concluded that with scores in excess of 5 out of 6 across all ten Sections the project “has the potential to be a very good public building”. The recovery of a disused inner city brownfield site rated a high DQI Urban & Social Integration score of 5.43.
Sustainability of this BREEAM Excellent project derives from cost and energy reductions over its 60 year lifecycle compared to a traditional building. Initially higher construction costs are offset by energy savings creating a 2.5% reduction in life cycle costs within 25 years and further increase to 8.6% over 40 years. Modelled annual energy consumption will be just 31kWh/m2 GIA compared to 98kWh/m2 for an equivalent traditional build health centre, saving 411 Tonnes CO2. Post occupation, three years of monitoring commence to validate the model.
Speed of onsite construction has been critical with foundations laid on the brownfield site in November 2020 and the 14 modules manufactured offsite by Portakabin, built and fitted out in 7 weeks, were lifted in to place over 2 days in mid-December 2020. Project completion scheduled for May 2021 was achieved. Once the FBC approval was given the entire team were geared up to “get it done” successfully and safely. The offsite fabrication not only shaved 13 weeks off of a live comparative traditional construction programme but delivered the added benefit of the modular design being made offsite in a safe low-waste quality controlled environment further increasing environmental benefits and reducing high-waste site operations.
This breakthrough NHS project stands out from the crowd as an exemplar UK health care solution, demonstrating a different way of creating innovative low carbon emission assets and gaining environmental benefit from application of MMC and offsite manufacturing, which can be shared with the CE movement.