New Isolation Unit, 2023
In June of 2021, we were approached by Cats Protection Birmingham as they considered the possibility of demolishing their existing isolation unit, with the intention of building a more modern, better equipped facility. The centre’s existing block had been built 21 years previously in year 2000. With aging cladding and an uninsulated roof, it appeared to need a total replacement to the team on site. However, upon viewing the building shortly after the first communication, ACD advised it would perhaps be more cost effective to retain the building itself, which appeared to be of a sound structure, and instead extend and enhance it.
Due to improvements in animal welfare standards and requirements over the years since the construction of the block, the existing unit was no longer fit for purpose. It comprised of 10 pens with outdated cages for the cats to sleep in, and insufficient space to isolate ringworm and non-ringworm cases. This was concerning for staff due to the ability for humans to contract the disease. Although the team were managing with careful management and a rigorous cleaning schedule, the updated facility would need an adequately ventilated space for such cases, with completely enclosed pens. In addition, it was agreed that the 10 pens that were present were to be replaced by full-size walk in pens (12 in total), to allow more space for the cats’ rest, enrichment and exercise.
When it came to the construction of the unit, ACD remained on the project as the Project Managers, working alongside Sheffield based Douglas Construction who were commended for their excellent work. ACD oversaw the replacement of the previous vertical timber cladding to new vertical cladding, with the addition of a new grey insulated metal profile sheet roof. Drainage had to be very carefully considered in the isolation unit due to infection control, and therefore we ensured that each pen had its own drainage channel. The construction of the extension also allowed the isolation block to have a dedicated laundry and plant room, two separate food prep areas, and a large treatment room – all necessary requirements for the building’s purpose.
Images 1 - 3 by Cats Protection
Adoption Centre Manager Alison Dickenson advised on the project: “We are extremely excited and grateful to now have such a remarkable space to treat our most vulnerable admissions. Cats and kittens need to be kept in isolation for a variety of reasons but most commonly they are the cats who not only need lots of TLC but expert veterinary care in an environment where they cannot transmit any illnesses they may have to our healthy cats."