Children’s Cardiac Unit in Dublin Shortlisted for Engineering Project of the Year

19 Oct 2018

The Cardiac Catheterisation Unit & Orthopaedic Theatre at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital Crumlin (OLCHC) in Dublin has been shortlisted by Engineers Ireland for Engineering Project of the Year 2017. This award will be the subject of a public vote over the next month.

The new facility is the only fully equipped paediatric cardiology service on the island of Ireland to diagnose and treat children with heart defects. The hybrid design allows the laboratory to be rapidly turned into a cardiac theatre thus permitting more complex interventions such as open heart surgery. The combination of catheterisation and operating facilities allows interventional cardiologists and surgeons to treat a child during a single procedure.

This type of treatment can lead to faster recovery times, less tissue damage and reduced scarring. This is especially beneficial for newborns because it is less traumatic than traditional approaches. The new orthopaedic theatre complete with an ultra-clean ventilation system also doubles as part of the national action plan to reduce the number of patients on waiting lists for scoliosis treatment surgery. Scoliosis is a medical condition that causes the spine to progressively curve sideways and therefore requires early intervention in children.

The design build project was delivered on time and within budget through the use of Building Information Modelling (BIM) by an interdisciplinary project team including RPS as Mechanical and Electrical Consulting Engineers.

Clancy was awarded the Design Build contract for the replacement of the existing OLCHC cardiac catheterisation laboratory in a live hospital environment. The project involved an extension to the operating theatre block to accommodate a hybrid cardiac catheterisation laboratory and ancillary facilities at first floor, suspended over an existing car park, a roof-top plant room and a link bridge. After construction had commenced, the project was extended to include an orthopaedic theatre at the same elevated level as the new catheterisation laboratory and the existing operating theatres.

The national importance of the project combined with the highly complex spatial limitations created an opportunity for innovative solutions and creative thinking. Using BIM as a combined project tool, facility design was carried out in a Federated BIM Level 2 Model. The project team created a digital prototype of the building and facilitated simultaneous rather than sequential integration of engineered systems (M&E), structural and architectural disciplines. This resulted in great precision and efficiency and enabled successful compression of the construction window.

Particular innovations in mechanical and electrical design were achieved on this project. Air distribution and thermal control were of particular importance given the age profile of the patients being treated and the air distribution pattern is critical to the hospital’s infection control department. The complexity and volume of medical equipment in the catheterisation laboratory required 3D modelling of all equipment and highly detailed design in both plan and elevation to ensure that the scanner rails, lighting and medical pendant positions, both in use and parked, would not interfere with the air distribution patterns. The design of the air conditioning system provided for indirect heat recovery from air being discharged.

Key complexities arose from undertaking a construction contract within a live operational hospital where all the activities are patient centric. The site management team were uncompromising in implementing all the required health and safety protocols. In terms of healthcare asset creation and management this is a critical new national facility, planned, designed and constructed in the most efficient and cost effective manner to meet current acute hospital care for children.

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