Story originally published January 2020
BMI’s flagship Alexandra Hospital in Manchester, the largest private hospital in the UK outside London, underwent a major refurbishment, part of which included the upgrading of the medical gas pipeline system (MGPS) by specialist contractor, BeaconMedaes. The project was challenging due to a lack of space in the plant room and the importance of keeping system downtime to an absolute minimum. However, thanks to close cooperation between the teams at BMI The Alexandra Hospital and BeaconMedaes, the project was completed on time and handed over successfully.
BeaconMedaes has had a long relationship with BMI The Alexandra Hospital, having held the MGPS maintenance contract for many years. When the prestigious project to replace the existing medical air plant was put out to tender, BeaconMedaes submitted a strong winning bid. The scope of works covered the bespoke design and manufacture of medical air plant equipment incorporating the latest technology, ensuring the system would be future-proofed for expansion further down the line.
At the heart of the upgrade are three Atlas Copco variable speed drive (VSD+) medical air compressors. A VSD compressor automatically adjusts its motor speed to the air demand, as opposed to a fixed speed compressor, which is either on full throttle or off. Energy typically represents over 80% of a compressor’s life-cycle cost. However, as it only runs at the required speed, the Atlas Copco VSD+ compressor allows for energy savings by on average 50% when compared to a fixed speed compressor, making it a smart choice for the hospital financially as well as environmentally.
In order for the VSD compressors to be installed within the limited space of the plant room, BeaconMedaes engineers had to work around the existing vacuum plant equipment. This necessitated them turning it by 90% to allow access, a strategy that could only be implemented by a highly skilled and experienced contractor.
To ensure patient safety, it was essential that the final switchover from the existing MGPS was carried out as quickly and smoothly as possible, with minimum downtime. Prior to the medical gasses being turned off, key stakeholders attended regular coordination meetings to identify the best time to disconnect the old plant and put the necessary arrangements in place. As planned and agreed by all, the BeaconMedaes engineers worked through the night to complete the transfer and the new MGPS was installed with virtually no disruption to patient care, theatre lists or the general day-to-day running of the hospital.
“Following BeaconMedaes’s successful bid for the replacement of the medical air plant at our BMI The Alexandra Hospital, I acted as project manager for BMI and worked closely with the hospital’s site management team and BeaconMedaes’ account manager and project manager to ensure a smooth transition from the old plant to the new.
“I found the BeaconMedaes team extremely engaging and was impressed by the way they worked around any problems that arose, such as how to accommodate the new plant within a very small plant room. The project was a success without causing any compromises to our patients or our business, and I would have no problem in recommending BeaconMedaes for any future projects that I am asked to manage for BMI.” - Stephen Seddon: Regional Engineering Manager, BMI Healthcare