Steven Hunt and Associates completes work at Chester mental health unit

£9.2m design services contract ensures safety for patients

Building Services specialist, Steven Hunt & Associates has completed the mechanical and electrical concept design for a £9.2m Tier 4 Children & Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) facility, currently under construction on land owned by Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust at the Countess of Chester Health Park.

Designed by Gilling Dod Architects, the scheme is being developed by Villicare LLP, a joint venture between the Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and Ryhurst.

Steven Hunt Associates was appointed directly by the client to engineer the concept building services design, thanks to the company’s expertise in hospital and mental health environments.

Design development and implementation will now be progressed by the project’s design and build contractor, Eric Wright Construction, with Steven Hunt & Associates retained by the client to oversee the detailed design and ensure best-practice delivery.

The nature of the scheme required specialist expertise in mental health specification and Steven Hunt & Associates has ensured a complete anti-ligature design, with underfloor heating throughout to prevent the use of radiators or pipework for self harm. All services are completely sealed in ceiling and floor voids and individual controls and isolation switches will be locked in secure services cupboards for each room, accessible only by staff.

Anti-ligature fittings have also been specified for all lighting, and Steven Hunt & Associates has included specialist provision such as pressure sensors on the doors to each patient bedroom and air lock security systems.

The company has also designed energy efficiency into the specification, with an air source heat pump to provide heating and cooling energy for the underfloor heating system, a 10.1 kW solar PV installation, and a CHP to address the unit’s high domestic hot water (DHW) demand.

Chris Tonge from Villicare said: “This project required the expertise of a specialist that could combine the requirement to provide a therapeutic, healing, and safe environment for service users and clinical staff with the key deliverables of providing a sustainable and operationally efficient facility, which are always essential in a public sector healthcare environment.

“Steven Hunt’s wide ranging experience of designing building services for both hospitals and mental health facilities of all security classifications meant that they were pro-active in suggesting the best approach to combining these core goals, creating a design framework that will ensure we set a benchmark for mental healthcare provision.”

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Gilling Dod Architects (more information, website)

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