Development of Referral Hospital, 2022
Southfields Veterinary Specialists, who are part of Linnaeus Group, is now one of the largest small animal referral hospitals in Europe. An impressive 42,000 square-foot building, the premises required a great deal of hard work, collaboration and specialist input to convert the original site into what we see today.
We first became involved in the early stages of the Southfields development in 2019, when we were appointed as lead architects. The building began as an unloved warehouse and storage facility, and it was our task, alongside Southfields and Linnaeus, to transform this warehouse into the UK’s leading referral centre. Our dedicated team of in-house architectural technicians worked full time on the drawing boards to pull everything together.
The list of stakeholders involved from the very start of the project was as extensive as the wide range of services that the hospital offers. We worked hard to accommodate every specialist’s individual needs by room in detailed drawings, without losing sight of the overall design ethos. As with all of our projects large and small, we were also determined to create the right “flow” for the vets and hospital team when designing the layout, to ensure that their working day, moving around from the hospital from one room to the next, would be as straightforward as possible and would work in conjunction with every day tasks.
As an advanced veterinary facility, the services infrastructure was huge. This included ventilation, heating and cooling, medical gases and fire alarm systems to name but a few; all of which can be easily overlooked when taking in the attractive finish of the hospital. Because of hygiene control being paramount within a medical building, the team needed to ensure that much of the building’s infrastructure needed to be outside of clinical zones and above ceilings. The two-storey Southfields building is in reality four floors, two of which are a hidden network of pipes and cables that span the entire surface area. This incredibly complicated design and execution could only be achieved through detailed three-dimensional building modelling, in-depth knowledge of required services within a veterinary facility, and extensive troubleshooting.
Not without it's challenges, ACD were also Quantity Surveyors and Project Managers on site. We faced the huge and unforeseen challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the impact of this on the building industry. COVID-19 brought barriers that as many of our clients may be aware, the industry is still seeing a fallback from.
We also had to face the difficult task of lowering and manoeuvring the state of the art MRI scanner down and into the building from high-security facility adjoining the site; a task which required a vast amount of meticulous planning and input from multiple parties. In addition, the discovery of an unmapped sewer beneath the new LINAC building certainly gave us a headache (organising the rebuild of a 6m deep sewer beneath the main road is not a task for he faint hearted!)
Despite its trials, ACD Projects are extremely proud to have been involved in the development of Southfields, and would encourage all vets thinking of developing or starting a new facility to learn from Linnaeus and Southfields' ground-breaking development.