Queen Alexandra Hospital - Wernick Buildings Case Study

By Wernick Buildings Limited in Case Study

Project Name: Queen Alexandra Hospital
Sector: Healthcare
Location: Portsmouth, Hampshire
Client name: Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust
Supplied by: Wernick Buildings
Size: 2997m2 / 76 Modules
Programme: 28 weeks
Project value: £8.2 million
Features: Four bed wards, single bed wards, therapy rooms, offices


As one of the busiest metropolitan hospitals in the South of England, Queen Alexandra Hospital Portsmouth was in dire need of expansion to accommodate an enlarged patient base.

Proposals for the redevelopment of the hospital included the construction a state of the art £58m Accident and Emergency Department and a new multi-story car park. 

However, the most pressing need of the hospital was additional ward space to be used primarily for patients recuperating from head injuries or strokes. This new specialist unit would also free up much needed free up general ward space within the main hospital.

The trust’s vision was for the proposed new building to link to the hospitals’ existing rehabilitation building, in turn providing a state-of-the-art brain injury rehabilitation centre to service the region.

The urgent need for the new building would require a form of modern methods of construction to be employed to meet an accelerated delivery deadline in time to offset the forthcoming winter pressures.

However, Portsmouth University NHS Trust were determined that a tight timetable should not compromise the quality, longevity, and aesthetics of the building with their ambition for the finished building to fit seamlessly within the existing surrounding architecture.


The Trust approached Wernick regarding a temporary decant facility but following discussion with the team they saw that a permanent design and build solution would better suit their requirements.

Working collaboratively with the Trust and their incumbent facilities management provider Engie, Wernick’s design team developed a two-storey modular solution modelled around the HMFlex® modular healthcare system.

‘HMFlex’ is designed for wider heights, spans, and widths of our modules to incorporate a 4-bed ward within just two modules.
This enables fewer modules to be produced and ultimately installed on-site but also reduces the amount of fit out required on-site dramatically reducing both on-site preliminary costs and reducing overall programme durations.

Utilising our new system resulted in the programme being greatly reduced down from an anticipated 44 weeks to just 28 weeks which has minimised long term disruption to daily hospital operations.

The completed two-storey building comprises of 2992 m2 of clinical space with 15 four bed wards, en-suite shower rooms and 12 single bed wards with en-suite, therapy rooms, stores, offices, patient day room and kitchens on each floor.


The project has been posed by several difficult logistical challenges most notably the main access route to the site also acting as the main blue light right to the hospital’s accident and emergency department.

To mitigate this Wernick’s design team developed a solution to increase the pre-manufactured value of the building to 75%. This resulted in a 30% reduction of on-site deliveries, also minimizing vehicle and plant movements and sub-contractor visits.

In addition, the site is in close proximity to the hospital’s helipad and directly beneath one of its two incoming flight paths.

To manage the inherent risk, our contracts team worked collaboratively with the hospital’s estates team to develop a ‘Helicopter Response Procedure’ to ensure that once notified of any inbound aircraft, all installation works can be ceased safely and swiftly.

Added Value

In accordance with the Portsmouth Plan (2012), Wernick developed a Local Employment & Training Strategy to provide opportunities for employment to local workforce as well our initiatives for training and upskilling our existing work force throughout the duration of the project.

This has involved liaising with Portsmouth City Council’s Economic Growth, Skills and Employee Committee to ensure that any new direct employment opportunities generated by the project were advertised locally with a preference of employing NEET (not in employment, education or training) people living within a 10 miles radius of the site.

Wernick also engaged with Highbury College’s Construction and the Built Environment department to provide work experience placements for several of their students.