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22 October 2018
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BIFM Awards: FM Excellence in a Major Project

13 October 2011

By Martin Read


Winner: Serco, Forth Health and NHS Forth Valley



When this magazine’s previous editor Cathy Hayward visited the £300m Forth Valley hospital back in March  this year, it was obvious that the site represented a striking example of innovation in health facilities services. That’s clearly a view endorsed by the BIFM Awards judges, who attested that the hospital had “achieved its prime aim of patient privacy and dignity by implementing an excellent plan in a ‘no frills’ manner, with materials that 
will stay the course for at 
least 30 years.”

Serco oversees the PPP contract for FM services at the hospital. The company is part of the project team led by Forth Health, a joint venture between John Laing and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, which included 
Laing O’Rourke as the design 
and construction partner, 
which funded, designed, built 
and contracted to provide the hard and soft FM services for 
32 years.

Mike Mackay, Forth Valley contract director for Serco, spoke back in March about the design elements that mark Forth Valley out. The decision to request segregation of different streams of on-site traffic at the tender stage had proved a major contributory factor in the success of the site. The resulting design ensures that operatives handling clinical waste don’t compete for lifts with operatives dealing with patient food or hospital visitors, FM traffic is kept completely separate from patients and clinical staff. 
    Patients will never see trolleys of laundry, waste or food and drink being wheeled around because of the use of automatic guided vehicles – so-called ‘robotic porters’.

Mechanical wonders
Guided by lasers, 12 white robots, looking for all the world like abandoned forklift trucks, move silently around the site dealing with laundry, supplies, food and waste, all via special robot-only corridors and lifts. There’s no interaction between the robot and either hospital visitors or clinical space, thus reducing the risk of healthcare-acquired infections.

By dividing the robots into two distinct ‘teams’ dedicated either to ‘dirty’ tasks (laundry, food, waste) or clinical purposes, any risk of cross-contamination is avoided. The robots are part of the hospital’s FM helpdesk system, which monitors 
the robots and produces performance statistics.

Forth Valley represents the coming together of two hospitals – Falkirk and District Royal Infirmary and Stirling Royal Infirmary. It was the largest NHS construction project ever built in Scotland and one of the most modern and well-equipped hospitals in Europe. The site stretches over an area the size of nine football pitches, with 25 wards, 4,000 rooms and 16 operating theatres.

The NHS FM staff who worked in Falkirk and Stirling were TUPE transferred over to Serco and the company employed a business change manager as part of the mobilisation team to carry out the process. Technical estates staff transferred in May 2010 with the remainder of the FM staff moving over as each of the patient transfer dates were reached in August 2010, September 2010 and July 2011.

As well as the segregated workflows, the hospital’s wards comprise 50 per cent single bedrooms – a unique ratio for a public hospital. There’s even a plan to convert the wards to 100 per cent single bedrooms, with open plan office space for non-patient contact medical 
staff administration.

Integral blinds, disposable curtains and an ozone laundry add to the innovative solutions aimed at reducing any risk of healthcare associated infection, while what’s seen as one of the most advanced wifi networks in any healthcare project in Europe supports a helpdesk that sends requests to Serco’s portering, cleaning and maintenance operatives. This network extends through to the car park.


Highly commended


KPMG for 15 Canada Square, London
KPMG’s facilities team has been the leading stakeholder since 
2006 in the design, construction, fit-out, mobilisation, migration 
and on-going occupation management phases of the organisation’s 
new 40,000 square metre (4.3 million square feet) property in 
Canary Wharf.