Results overview

  • 96% of waste diverted from landfill
  • 80% of labour from Yorkshire, including Bradford, Leeds, Halifax and Huddersfield.
  • 20 subcontractors on the project
  • 35 operatives on site each day.
  • Three apprentices from the mechanical and electrical contractor were also based on site.


The University of Leeds, University of Bradford and Bradford Royal Infirmary wanted to build a bespoke, modern research and healthcare facility on the site of Bradford Royal Infirmary, bringing together researchers from the Universities of Leeds and Bradford with clinicians from Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

The project was made possible thanks to a £1 million award from national charity the Wolfson Foundation, a charity awarding grants to support and promote excellence in the fields of science, medicine, the arts and humanities, education, health and disability.

Health researchers and clinicians will be based at the research and healthcare facility, enabling research to help provide better health and social care for people across Yorkshire.

The site for the new 900 sq m building was part of an existing car park within the hospital grounds, which meant footfall was high and deliveries had to be planned strategically to minimise disruption and allow staff and visitors to continue to move around the site.

Staff pay to use the car park on a monthly basis and it was continuously in use by approximately 500 cars per day.

Sewell Construction was appointed to complete the work following a competitive tendering process based on quality and value for money.

The University of Leeds was established in 1904 and is one of the largest higher education institutions in the UK, while the University of Bradford has more than 140,000 graduates in over 175 countries worldwide.

Bradford Royal Infirmary, which is part of Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, has 5,500 staff and serves a population of about 500,000 people, providing specialist services to 1.1 million people.


Before work began on-site, the Sewell Construction team met with the clients to outline the programme of work and ensuring communication was clear and regular from the outset. The meetings included the clients’ Estates Manager to work through logistics for delivery times, which were agreed to be restricted to between 7am and 8.30am, and 4pm and 5pm, avoiding the busiest times and ensuring specific windows were in place for delivery activity.

Plans were put in place to work through the night on a couple of occasions to accommodate bringing the high voltage electrical supply across to the new building from the hospital’s main substation.

Meetings also took place with key supply chain subcontractors before work began to emphasise the importance of delivery times and schedules based on the busy location of the new building, particularly with the structural steel frame team, as they were the subcontractor with the largest material components.

The supply chain was chosen based on existing trusted relationships Sewell has with those who have worked on similar projects in the healthcare sector before, as well as some new relationships with subcontractors from the Bradford area.

Alterations had to be made to the design of the ventilation system before work began to ensure where it was placed was appropriate given the location of the building within the existing hospital grounds. The air conditioning units were moved to a more suitable and protected location underneath the contained fire escape area rather than in their original location fixed at height to the back of the building.

Environmental considerations were made before work began, including improved insulation, energy-efficient electrical appliances, internal lighting and ventilation, and windows to ensure maximum daylight is provided.

Plans were put in place for a Building Management System (BMS) to be installed to ensure mechanical and electrical equipment could be closely controlled, and building materials were responsibly sourced.

From a health and safety perspective, a dedicated member of the on-site team was appointed to coordinate deliveries, particularly as footfall was high, and areas were segregated off to protect the public and staff while construction was ongoing.


Key milestones in the project included:

• Establishing the site compound, ensuring it was fully fenced, secured and signposted

• Foundations, drainage and concrete slabs

• Structural Steelwork

• Ensuring the building was wind and watertight in time for Christmas, giving the team the best internal conditions for the mechanical and electrical first fix and wall partitions earlier than expected.

• Decoration and carpet fitting

• Completion

While digging out the foundations for the new building, the team discovered a fibre optic cable, which fed various locations with phone and internet access both on and off-site.

The onsite team had to liaise with the provider to have the cable redirected to minimise impact to delivery timings on the project.

Fortnightly newsletters were issued to the clients and key stakeholders to ensure everyone was up to date with the latest developments and progress could be tracked.

Meanwhile, a weekly activity schedule detailed and highlighted activity on-site, including delivery dates and times, so everyone was aware of the programme over the immediate days to follow.

Site tours were put in place for end-users three times throughout the project, while sod cutting and bricklaying events were organised for local schoolchildren and invited guests who will be involved in future research at the centre, which covers infancy to elderly and the journey in between.

Demonstrations of equipment and explanations of new equipment were given to ensure the end-users knew how everything worked before handover.

We are delighted with the outcome of this project and the quality of the building. Bradford Royal Infirmary is a very busy site and there was very little disruption to the rest of the hospital, which is testament to the whole team and their approach to the scheme.

Paul Cook Strategic Programme Manager in the Capital Development Team at the University of Leeds