Stoke Mandeville Hospital

External Wall Insulation Systems

Maximising space at Stoke Mandeville Hospital 

Having won a bid for £15m of capital funding in 2020, Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust (BHT) commissioned a new children’s emergency department – including upgraded, expanded facilities and a new overnight observation ward – at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Aylesbury.

Completed in March 2023, the 3,500m2 extension not only provides a dedicated area for children but has also freed up much-needed capacity for adult patients in the existing emergency department, and has reduced overcrowding and improved infection control. The plans also included new facilities to improve access to maternity and gynaecology outpatient services in a modern, purpose-built environment. 

Minimising disruption 

The buildings adjacent to the children’s department house the hospital’s A&E department and maternity ward, so it was crucial that construction could go ahead without causing any disruption to day-to-day access.

Throughout the project, the emergency department drop-off route, blue light route, maternity drop-off route, and A&E entrance remained in use at all times. 

A modular design 

Designed by London-based architects Hunters, the two-storey building was made using modern methods of construction (MMC) at the main contractor Western Building Systems’ purpose-built in-house manufacturing facilities in Northern Ireland.

The decision to build using modular construction resulted in minimal disruption to the hospital, both in terms of number of deliveries and overall time to build.  

Hospital buildings require many services to be installed so the subcontractors worked closely together, supported by quantity surveyors from MESH Construction Consultancy Limited. 

Building sustainably

Steel structure modules were made at the Western Building Systems factory in Coalisland to form the frame of the building. They were then sheathed in 12mm cement particle boards and wrapped in breather membrane.

The modular design specified an efficient, certified External Wall Insulation (EWI) system that met all stringent safety standards. EWI systems have huge thermal benefits for any building by conserving energy, minimising heat loss and reducing CO2 emissions. In addition to this, having a fully certified non-combustible solution offers great peace of mind, as well as a fast-track way to provide an attractive and durable façade.  

Once the frame was in place on site, render and EWI specialists from Clarke ECO Wall Ltd installed Saint-Gobain Weber’s webertherm XM – a system they are familiar with, having used it on projects previously, including University Hospital Limerick.

The EWI system included webertherm MFD mineral fibre insulation board with carbon tip screw fixings, weberend LAC rapid adhesive render coat and silicone enhanced webersil TF decorative finish. 

This building was made up of two types of wall: one which used 170mm of external insulation and achieved a U-Value of 0.12 W/m2K and another which used just 70mm of webertherm MFD yet still reached a U-Value of 0.18 W/m2K. Both were combined with additional insulation installed within the frame. 

The system was finished using webersil TF – a highly weather-resistant silicone decorative finish – in Winter White. 

Support throughout the project

“The team from Weber were very helpful,” said Michael Clarke, managing director of Clarke ECO Wall Ltd. “They provided all the specification and completed the necessary pull-out tests, fixing patterns and condensation analysis – ensuring everything was approved and there were no grey areas – and offered our team application support while carrying out the work. They took a very collaborative approach.”

A representative from Weber made weekly site visits to support the applicators to ensure the system was installed in line with Weber’s recommended best practice. The EWI system was installed in two phases, totalling eight weeks, between April and November 2022.

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