This is one of five new proposed local mental health inpatient facilities to be procured through public-private partnership to replace inadequate existing stock. The new facilities will reduce stigma and improve inclusion and accessibility, in comfortable, safe, non-clinical and healing environments that support recovery and care. The Mental Health Needs Index for central Liverpool is more than twice the national average and indicates a high and growing level of mental health need.
The Edge Lane project is on a brown-field site adjacent to a major arterial road into Liverpool. It lies on a ridge enjoying views of central Liverpool and is described as being at a ‘gateway’ into the city. The site contains contamination from earlier glass and paint manufacture, a dye works, and a used car showroom.
Further project details
1. What approach did you take in assessing risks and identifying adaptation measures to mitigate the risks?
Knowledge of current best practice was gathered from the expert team, previous projects, and desktop studies.
Risks were assessed in the light of maintenance costs and a holistic approach was taken to the future-proofing of the engineering and super-insulated fabric of the buildings.
The process included all stakeholders and designers.
2. How have you communicated the risks and recommendations with your client? What methods worked well?
- As the process has been open and collaborative to date with key stakeholders present at meetings, communication has been straightforward.
- Dedicated BREEAM assessment meetings and the use of a dedicated web portal has been useful.
- Having designers, sub-contractors and FM providers together at the same table has worked well.
- BREEAM success was achieved at the BREEAM 2013 Awards ceremony at ECOBUILD 2013 where the project won the BREEAM Healthcare award for 2013.
3. What tools have you used to assess overheating and flood risks?
The use of BIM software to model the buildings at an early stage in the design has facilitated the thermal modelling of the scheme design. VE Pro was used for initial and later work (interoperability of Revit and IES software was explored but later abandoned).
Oxford Brookes have used UKCP09 tools: the weather generator tool, the threshold detector tool (to establish heating and cooling design days), The adaptation wizard to assess vulnerability, and the local climate impact profile data to understand the exposure.
Working with the rest of the design team, Arup have designed the drainage system to store the water from a 1 in 100 year storm event with no flooding, plus a 20 per cent allowance for climate change in accordance with EA guidance. They have used microdrainage software.
4. What has the client agreed to implement as a result of your adaptation work?
- Flat roofs with additional loading capacity for sedum planting or additional renewable energy systems.
- High parapet roof upstands to safely accommodate additional renewable energy systems out of sight.
- Standardised single bedrooms with ensuites for adaptable use for non-medical or other medical uses with different care methods.
- Super-insulated envelope and local heat recovery.
- Individual controls of heating, ventilation and water for each bedroom.
- Underfloor heating that can be used for summer cooling.
- Extensive soft landscaping.
5. What were the major challenges so far in doing this adaptation work?
It has been difficult to embed the culture of futureproofing in a public-private-partnership context where client requirements are necessarily very specific and capital costs are kept low.
Technical solutions conflicting with clinical requirements (e.g. openable windows in super-insulated buildings).
We have struggled to undertake as many iterations as we would like to test ideas, because of the team’s reluctance to do potentially abortive work and because of cost constraints.
6. What advice would you give others undertaking adaptation strategies?
The important thing is to have adaptation on the agenda at the earliest stage of any project. Give it an equivalent and interlinked status as BREEAM and post occupancy evaluations.
Encourage longer term thinking in terms of ‘sweating the asset’ when building a facility that is likely to have a continuing or residual value beyond the current use profile.
Discourage short term thinking that will inevitably cost money, time and energy resources in the future, when the building will be redundant or inefficient to use.
Review the potential interoperability of any predictive BIM modelling tools such as Revit (Autodesk) and IES when commissioning thermal models as the technology will change.