Peterborough City Hospital - NHSLINAC extension
Location: Peterborough City Hospital, Edith Cavell Campus, Bretton Gate, Bretton, Peterborough, PE3 9GZ
Type: Firm price contract
Services: Full M&E Installation
Main Contractor: RG Carter
Duration: 27 weeks
Peterborough City Hospital is one of the country’s newest acute general district hospitals. It first opened to patients in November 2010 following a £330 million investment programme, the largest building project in the city since Peterborough Cathedral was built in the 12th century. From the outset, its Radiotherapy Department has played a central role in the life of the hospital. Prior to its inception in 2010, many local cancer patients had to make the long journey to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge for their daily treatment.
- Full M&E services for two new radiotherapy bunkers and cutting edge cancer care equipment.
- Estimated total installation of 13 miles of general cabling, five miles of data cable and 1.5 miles of steel containment.
- New roof-level plant room to house air handling and extraction units for ventilation and heating systems.
A world class extension
Until recently the Radiotherapy Department was served by two rooms (bunkers) housing two separate linear accelerator (or LINAC) machines, state-of-the-art equipment that employs x-ray beams to target and kill cancer cells with a very high degree of accuracy. Following £5.4 million of funding from the Department of Health, the local NHS Foundation Trust moved to upgrade those facilities by commissioning two further bunkers and a third LINAC machine. This new extension will have a transformative effect on cancer treatment at the hospital; the Department hopes to double the volume of treatments to patients following completion of the project. The expansion also included the provision of new LINAC gating equipment, a technology that synchronises x-rays with the patient’s breathing in order to focus the area of irradiation, and a new computer-aided technique that adds further improvements to the accuracy of treatment.
In summary, the expansion provides the City Hospital with one of the most technologically advanced radiotherapy units in the region, and as a leading supplier of high-tech mechanical and electrical services, WT Parker were uniquely positioned to facilitate it.
A comprehensive M&E package
The LINAC expansion was a high profile project with a significant variety and volume of M&E work. Overall we installed 1.5 miles of steel containment, five miles of data cable and 13 miles of general cabling during the course of the engagement. One of the most challenging features of the mechanical installation work was a comprehensive, roof-level plant room to service the new radiotherapy bunkers. For this we installed two air handling and extraction units to provide the extension with all its ventilation and heating requirements. We also installed two water-cooling chiller units; these are particularly crucial where linear accelerators are concerned, since LINAC equipment requires precise temperature control to avoid destructive heat build-up during operation.
On the electrical side, one of the main challenges involved power connection to the new LINAC machine. We provided all the field wiring up to the 1.5m-thick walls of the bunker, and from the machine panels to key operational points around the room, including lasers around the walls, cameras and the power control switchgear. We also built in essential safety features, such as timeouts.
As an extension rather than a new-build construction, the LINAC project demanded a substantial amount of integration with existing services. We provided the department with a comprehensive suite of integrated electrical systems, including disabled refuge systems, fire alarms, access control system, intruder alarms, CCTV and domestic power connections. We also commissioned specialist subcontractor Static Systems to install a high-spec nurse call system for the unit.
Busy hospital departments are, naturally, live environments with little manoeuvre for shutdowns to services. As such, we worked carefully with the hospital authorities to ensure that the installations carried out by our team had as little impact on the operations of the radiotherapists as possible. This involved significant out-of-hours work when cutting into the power, medical gas, heating and domestic water supplies, and scheduled use of shutdowns to reduce disruption to an absolute minimum. The same principle applied to our work on the ceiling-mounted radiant panels. To avoid the health and safety complications of welding on site, all pipework for the panels was measured up at the hospital and then precision-fabricated in our offsite workshop prior to installation. The mechanical aspects of the project were completed with the installation of a fully integrated building management controls system.