COVID Isolation Unit, Heath Hospital, Cardiff

Project Details


Cardiff & Vale NHS Trust


Healthcare & Retirement



Our Approach

Cambria were appointed to carry out time sensitive structural design works to enable the speedy construction of the primary steel frame support structure for a High Consequence Infectious Disease (HCID) unit installed at the Heath University Hospital. The requirement of such units was brought about by the COVID pandemic and the urgency of the project was made clear from the offset. The design was completed in collaboration with ModuleCo and Cardiff & Vale Hospital. Cambria organised and coordinated site investigations at short notice and ensured results were fast tracked and incorporated into the structural design. The steel frame was designed to BIM level 2 with model outputs being directly used by the steel fabricator to produce and manufacture frame components.

Detailed coordination was carried out to ensure ground level parking was not impeded and support for the HCID module units was achieved. The first floor steel beams transfer vertical loads via bending and shear action in to vertical column elements and in turn back in to pad foundations. Lateral loads arising from wind and notional effects are transferred into the lateral bracing within the first floor structural zone and back in to vertical braced bays strategically placed around the footprint of the structure.
The original structure was supposed to be temporary however, due to the COVID pandemic being a part of our day-to-day life for a lot longer than expected the requirement for the HCID units remains to this day. As a result, and following the success of the original project Cambria have been appointed to further review the structure and assess the implications of installing louvred panels around the frontage of the podium to hide the existing plant, helping make it aesthetically suitable for a more permanent type structure. The design involves assessing the existing frame, provision of detailed design calculations to enable strengthening works to be carried out by the steel fabricator.

Cambria were also responsible for obtaining one of the first retrospective SAB Approvals in Wales. Working closely with Cardiff Council’s Sustainable drainage Approval Body (SAB) – we expressed the urgency of the project given the extenuating circumstances and urgent demand for the unit on the existing hospital site. Cambria proposed retrofitting SUDs planters adjacent proposed columns to satisfy the SAB which was the most cost effective and efficient measure in meeting the statutory SUDs standards.

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