UK leads international healthcare estates revolution

Experience of UK architects and contractors sought after as overseas markets offer opportunities

London-based PMDevereux Architects was behind the development of the Turks & Calcos Islands Hospital PFI scheme

This country’s reputation for designing and constructing top-quality, patient-centred healthcare environments is leading to a wealth of opportunities for UK companies overseas.

UK professionals excel in the complex working relationships that are common in PFI today. This promotes efficiency, creativity and innovation not readily to be found in the more-restricted practices in many other countries

The past 15 years has seen unprecedented investment in both NHS and private medical facilities, and this expertise is now highly sought after by countries just beginning to embark on widescale improvements.

In particular, China, the United Arab Emirates, the US, and Canada are investing heavily in the healthcare estate, as are Australia, Japan and a number of European countries.

And they are looking to UK companies for cost-effective solutions. This includes innovative funding methods and modern offsite and modular construction techniques, as well as facilities management expertise.

Government body, Healthcare UK’s document, Infrastructure for health: working in partnership, provides an overview of the opportunities, citing some $40trillion worth of infrastructure projects in the international pipeline between now and 2030, many of those large medical developments.

Revolutionising healthcare

The UK has a world-class reputation for the provision of professional property and facilities management services that optimise buildings’ clinical performance and sustainability

It states: “UK companies have set internationally-recognised standards, designing and building everything from multi-specialty hospitals serving entire cities to primary care clinics for urban and rural communities.

“Leading multi-disciplinary UK architects, engineers and construction firms work in partnership to create and realise cutting-edge designs that are revolutionising the hospital and clinical environment.

“The UK also has a world-class reputation for the provision of professional property and facilities management services that optimise buildings’ clinical performance and sustainability.”

The Turks & Calcos project is an example of the opportunities for UK construction and architectural experts overseas

Examples of international projects that have been led by UK intelligence include the Centre Hospitalier de l’Universite de Montreal.

At CAD$2.1billion, the project is one of the world’s-largest healthcare developments and utilised building information modelling (BIM) and manufacturing capabilities from UK-based construction giant, Laing O’Rourke. The approach enabled faster construction and greater standardisation of core components for the scheme.

A team of UK designers, including London-based PMDevereux Architects, was also behind the development of the Turks & Calcos Islands Hospital PFI scheme.

“UK professionals excel in the complex working relationships that are common in PFI today,” states the Healthcare UK report. “This promotes efficiency, creativity and innovation not readily to be found in the more-restricted practices in many other countries.”

“The financial knowledge that UK consultants have developed offers a comprehensive understanding of the needs of the investment community, and the ability to interpret this within the local framework of the individual countries in which they are working.”

Collaboration

In addition, the UK-based International Hospitals Group has recently signed a long-term partnership with Wanda Group, China’s largest commercial property company, to build, equip, commission, and manage the new IHG Qingdao International Hospital.

Chester King, chairman of IHG Asia, said of the announcement: “We have had a great year in China. In May, the company was accepted as the only foreign member of Strategic Alliance for the Medical & Healthcare Industry of China and nominated as head of its international affairs committee.

Denmark, for example, has closed a lot of hospitals and consolidated them, and UK architects have had a share in that process

“This collaboration is a great example of China/Britain co-operation.”

Arab countries also offer a wealth of opportunities, with a young society and a rapidly-growing population. Excellence in design is seen as crucial by the government there in order to attract top-class healthcare workers from overseas.

Closer to home, other European countries are also investing in their infrastructure. Speaking at our healthcare buildings forum earlier this year, Teva Hesse, head of the London branch of C F Møller Architects, said: “Denmark, for example, has closed a lot of hospitals and consolidated them, and UK architects have had a share in that process.”

The Centre Hospitalier de l’Universite de Montreal (image courtesy of Laing O’Rourke)

Companies