Graham-BAM Healthcare Partnership’s considerate redevelopment of Ulster Hospital

Graham-BAM Healthcare Partnership (GBHP) has embarked upon a £78m Ulster Hospital Phase B development.

This project involved the construction of a seven storey generic ward block with 288 ensuite bedrooms, facilitating day surgery, endoscopy and angiography services, the plan also provided a new pharmacy department.

John Wilson, Project Safety, Health and Environmental (SHE) Coordinator, GBHP, commented:

“Central to the Graham-BAM Healthcare Partnership (GBHP) is to ensure our business is carried out in a safe, sustainable manner that is socially responsible and respectful of the environment.”

The development faced a number of challenges, one of which was ensuring effective communications within a multilingual workforce, and the implementation of user-friendly practices to ensure a common understanding of health and safety issues.

Here are some examples of best practice initiatives carried out by GBHP, to comply with the Considerate Constructors Scheme:

  • Site has run additional competitions for local schools in association with project designers for public artwork. Winners have visited the site to plan how the hoarding will look for next year as well as hosting an awards ceremony.
  • Previously planted trees and shrubs at the front of the site have now grown to a height where they are hiding the site compound to meet the objective of an “invisible building”.
  • Through continuous reflection and liaison with all the stakeholders in the project, they were able to seize new opportunities for measures that fit well within the Scheme, and which added value to the project and leave a positive, lasting legacy.
  • Local catering college students on work placement were invited into the site canteen to prepare food.
  • GBHP raised funds to buy, wrap and distribute presents to the children’s ward for the last two years, the children, parents and hospital staff enjoyed the day. The elves and Santa were the GBHP members of staff.
  • A buddy system for working in teams and opportunities to improve language skills was developed and implemented formally through local colleges, and informally through local community networks.
  • The site carefully considered their impact on the local environment; the environmental initiatives introduced on site included the wildlife friendly installation of bird houses, seed/fat balls and bat boxes.
  • Eco-friendly steps such as installing a de-silting unit on site and arranging daily road sweeps to prevent siltation of drains, the placement of noise monitors as well as on-going vibration and dust monitoring were carried out.
  • The site believed that a supportive and caring environment for the workforce cannot be achieved without the input of the operatives themselves; this was achieved through steering groups which ensured the high standards of welfare provided were respected and maintained.
  • GBHP’s considerate environment practices were highlighted by NetRegs – the partnership between the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) and the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) for their best practice videos.
  • Site has developed and rolled out a safety app available to all of the site team and operatives which provides access to safety advice and guidance.
  • Behavioural Safety Management implemented such as a 20 second scan of the area before work and monthly safety awards with the incentive of free weekly breakfasts.
  • GBHP undertook in-depth preliminary research to ascertain the unique nature of Ulster Hospital and pinpoint where it could incorporate as many successful practices as possible.
  • A number of measures were put into place, including translation of written information throughout the site, pictorial information, and permanent on site interpreters covering multiple languages.

To view the Graham-BAM Healthcare Partnership featured in NetReg’s video of best practice, click below.


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