North West Cancer Centre, Altnagelvin Hospital

As one of Northern Ireland’s first cross border funded projects, the North West Cancer Centre (NWCC) is a vital facility which will help to greatly reduce travelling times to treatment for many cancer patients.  The unit was designed to sit comfortably within its landscape, both for its external and internal features, and to not appear overpoweringly clinical by creating a peaceful and pleasant surrounding for patients and their families, and staff.

Our team were appointed to provide design services to create a pleasant, warm welcoming facility to allay the natural fears of patients.

The Centre comprises three main floors, a dedicated plant room and basement parking and is linked to the existing hospital by service tunnels and link corridors.  The ground floor treatment wings include four linear accelerator bunkers and a Superficial Treatment room for Radiotherapy, with associated Imaging and Treatment Planning facilities as well as the extension to the existing Chemotherapy department. The first floor comprises 35 single bedroom ward accommodation.  Treatment Planning and Administration offices are provided on the second floor. 

Project details

Project name
North West Cancer Centre – Altnagelvin Hospital

Western Health and Social Care Trust

Derry Northern Ireland

Services Provided

  • Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing Design (MEP)
  • BREEAM Assessor
  • Sustainability
  • Infrastructure design
  • Construction Stage project monitoring


The unit is built on the site of existing operational healthcare facilities which needed safely decommissioning to allow construction to commence. It is also located directly adjacent to the existing Cancer Chemotherapy treatment facility which was to remain fully operational throughout construction.

With cross-border funding, the design of the project needed to support collaboration between two Health Services throughout the life of the Unit.

North West Cancer Centre.png


The Radiotherapy Unit has been built on the site of the existing mortuary, CHP plant and temporary office accommodation.  This is located adjacent to the existing Chemotherapy facility, known as the Sperrin Suite, which was also extended while remaining fully operational throughout construction.  The Centre was designed to provide a patient centred, holistic, integrated and easily accessible service for cancer patients drawn from both the West of Northern Ireland and the North West of the Republic of Ireland. As Radiotherapy is a new service to the Trust, the design has also been informed by reference to the Belfast Cancer Centre and the advice of the Northern Ireland Cancer Unit based there.  We have drawn these various strands of influence together to produce a design that the Trust understands and is happy to adopt.

Varian was selected to provide the Linac machines and detail design of the fit out of three of the Bunkers was undertaken to integrate the selected Truebeam Slim machine.  Siemens was selected to provide Treatment Planning Medical Imaging equipment, which includes CT Simulators as well as MRI, CT and Plain X-Ray imaging rooms.  Consideration was given to emerging technology to use MRI for Simulation in Treatment Planning and this influenced the final equipment selection and the resultant detailing of the MRI suite.

The building is supplied with Primary Services from the site steam main and CHP waste heat system. Electric Power derives from a new dedicated substation connected into the site Ring Main, which benefits from the CHP.  The building was built on the site of the old mortuary and CHP plant; these facilities were relocated in a series of Enabling Work packages including the re-provision of a key plant room to provide heating and hot water services to the original hospital Tower Blocks and co-location of the CHP that serves the entire hospital site into the main Boiler House.  The hospital remained fully operational throughout the redevelopment work.

The scheme was completed to BREEAM Very Good level and achieved a Class B EPC rating of 35.

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