This is a case study of our ‘flagship’ healthcare construction project, creating a modern and bespoke care home in Dartford, Kent, for Bostall Group. The project was completed in February 2021 and took place during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bostall Group's requirements
In early 2019, Bostall Group searched the market for a suitable and competent construction partner to assist with their land mark, high-profile development in the healthcare sector. The Design and Build project involved the creation of a modern, high-quality 5-storey, 77-bed care home.
Their requirements for the main contractor included:
- Expertise in the healthcare construction sector, including wider construction acumen.
- Experience in delivering projects within scope, to timescales and with diligent control over commercial and financial functions.
- Corporate values and an approach to construction which are aligned with expectations.
- Evidence of professional and high-quality construction operations.
The high-specification project involved building upon a former hospital site, located next to a residential area and with limited/restricted access arrangements.
Horizon Construction's solution
The story of our relationship with Bostall Group began after they became aware of our expertise in automotive construction from our site in Sidcup, Kent, for a Porsche dealership. By chance, it was the visibility of our branded site which drew their attention and subsequent enquiry.
After a competitive tender process, Horizon Construction was selected and able to demonstrate its expertise and approach to construction above and beyond others.
The 18-month project began 6 months before the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Operations were then adjusted to handle the restrictions and guidelines, which included additional measures and enhancements to the Site Operating Procedures to ensure the safety of all personnel and surrounding public areas.
Following the first national lockdown, the site had to be closed for 6 weeks. Ensuring the continuation of robust and collaborative working practices with Bostall Group and project teams, additional changes to practices included virtual site and design meetings and any essential site visits moved to outside of normal operational hours. The digital infrastructure of Horizon Construction allowed all operations to be flexible and adjust to suit the changes in requirements.
Construction works included:
- Sheet piled and reinforced concrete basement, traditional masonry walls, supporting steel frame, reinforced concrete floors, and flat roof with high-performance coverings.
- Use of a luffing jib tower crane in the confines of a very tight site and next to a residential area.
- Installation of specialist areas, including kitchen, laundry, dining, social, hair salon, cinema, and dementia care.
- Authorisation from the local authority for a daily weekday road closure during ‘off peak’ times – avoiding busy residential travel periods – to provide managed access to the site for suppliers.
- Establishing a local community liaison to communicate with the local residents. Due to the location and nature of the site, careful consideration was given to minimise disruption and to be responsive to concerns.
Our team and teamwork with all suppliers performed to the highest of standards to overcome the complexities and challenges involved in the Design and Build project. The care home was expertly considered in design and delivery, with exceptional use of space, both inside and out, with a focus on enhancing the experience for its end-users. Our expertise in providing solutions throughout the construction process, including engineering, clearly benefited our client.
Specific challenges which were overcome included:
- External cladding arrangements had to be negotiated with the client, planners and building control.
- Consideration of the acoustic performance of materials used in the building.
- Collaboration with the interior designer to meet Design and Build specifications.
- Initial installer of the lifts became unavailable to fulfil the contract, so an alternative installation supplier was sourced.
- Disruption and impact on the local community – all matters were carefully managed and all enquiries were following up, considered and changes made where necessary. The overall number of enquiries made by local residence was below an expected average for a site so close to a residential area.
Our approach to construction ensures, at all times, we at least meet the expectations of our client through an approachable, collaborative and caring manner.
The finished product, located on West Hill, Dartford, was an exact representation of the original CGIs and specifications. The interiors were completed to high standards to match the requirement of a modern care home. This flagship project is one our construction group is very proud to include within its portfolio.
Whilst the Bostall Group is our client, they have become friends with our team. Bostall Group said:
Just wanted to say, what a great job you have done at the care home and also that it has been a pleasure to work with such a professional team. As a real bonus, I got to know you [directors of Horizon Construction] personally as well.
Looking forward to working with you on our next project.