The £485 million modernisation of the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton has passed another milestone with the start of piling work for the first new building.
The project – known as the 3Ts (teaching, trauma and tertiary care) – includes a new helideck which is currently being built on top of the Thomas Kemp Tower.
The piling work involves sinking more than 400 piles into the ground to support what is currently known as the stage 1 building.
The 3Ts director Duane Passman said: “Being able to give over a quarter of a large acute teaching hospital to construction is a major undertaking.
“The enormous amount of work on that site of the stage 1 building to date has been in preparation for the redevelopment’s first new, permanent building.
“The preparations have included moving clinical services into new, high-quality, modular buildings and deconstructing nine different buildings.
“Now, however, the construction of the redevelopment’s stage 1 building is under way.
“Although not visible, the foundation piles mark the transition from preparation to construction.
“This is the point where the years of planning and preliminary works begin to pay dividends, literally from the ground up.
“The foundation piles, large reinforced concrete columns, sit below ground level and will support the weight of the building.
Jonathan Abbott, project director for main contractor Laing O’Rourke, said: “The beginning of piling works marks a significant start to the main construction and it will be exciting to see the project develop as activity increases on site.
“We are committed to being a considerate constructor and we do our best to minimise disruption to the surrounding area.
“Despite it not being a legal requirement, we’ve signed a section 61 agreement which details the work being carried out, what time of day it will happen and the measures taken to reduce noise and disruption in the local area.”
Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the Royal Sussex, said: “The stage 1 building will stand on 413 piles in total. The piles on the northern boundary are being sunk to a depth of 33 metres.
“The piles that will support the building’s southern boundary, alongside Eastern Road, will be between 10 and 15 metres deep.
“The difference is caused by the natural slope of the site from higher elevations in the north to lower elevations in the south.
“Piles for the building are formed by drilling a hole to the required depth. A reinforced steel cage is lowered into the hole and concrete is pumped in.
“Once the concrete has hardened, the pile is capped, ready to support the building above.
“The 3Ts Redevelopment is taking place in three stages. Stages 1 and 2 will provide new buildings on the front half of the hospital site adjacent to Eastern Road.
“A new helideck is being constructed on top of the hospital’s existing Thomas Kemp Tower at the same time as stage 1.
“Stage 3 will provide a much-needed service yard that will be accessible from Bristol Gate. The stage 1 building is due to be completed towards the end of 2020.”