A highly complex, 4,200sqm two-storey ward and theatre building at Royal Stoke University Hospital has been constructed by Portakabin Hire in less than four months to help meet the increasing demand for orthopaedic services.


The £13.5 million contract is the largest in the 52-year history of the Portakabin Group’s Hire Division and the project is one of its most challenging schemes in terms of programme and site constraints.

The structure for the high quality patient facility was installed in just 18 days which included weekend working to minimise disruption to the hospital’s service provision as there were fully operational wards immediately adjacent to the new building. This construction solution allowed the project to be built in the shortest possible time to the benefit of patient care.

The purpose-designed scheme, which will be in use for the next five years, has provided 56 new in-patient beds, two large state-of-the-art, clean air theatres for all orthopaedic procedures, recovery room, ‘dirty’ and ‘clean’ utilities, single rooms with en-suite bathrooms, staff changing rooms, reception, kitchenette, offices, 33-person ‘crash team’ lift, and an integral plant room.

Commenting on the project, John Simpson, Director of Corporate Services at University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust, said “This type of construction allowed us to benefit from a much shorter delivery programme so we could have the new facility up and running more quickly, meeting the increasing demand for services and enhancing patients’ experience.”

“Whilst the building is constructed to permanent standards, its modular construction gives us greater flexibility as the facilities can be dismantled and removed if service needs change. We had an extremely tight timescale to deliver this complex healthcare building for the relocation of clinical services – but I am delighted to report that this was achieved.”

“The new facilities have been very well received by patients and staff. There is excellent light, space, décor and infection control. Portakabin Hire successfully installed the building next to the main hospital with minimal impact on service provision. This required detailed logistical planning and the whole installation operation was carried out with military precision by a superb site team. The final design is extremely good.”

Jeanette Carter, Royal Stoke Ward Manager, said, “The overall design and layout of the building are fantastic and the interior is very welcoming. We have a lot more space, particularly around beds, to facilitate patient contact and to accommodate any equipment we need. Everything fits into the ward space really well and there is better storage. The wards are airy and the design features – such as integral blinds for the windows – make infection control much easier. We also have more side rooms available which help to reduce waiting times. There has been a lot of positive feedback from staff and patients since we moved into the new building.”

The new Orthopaedic Unit is constructed from 124 steel-framed modules up to 14m long and weighing up to 9 tonnes each. These were installed complete with wall finishes, internal partitioning, mechanical and electrical services and flooring already in place, further reducing work and disruption on this busy hospital site.  The modules are built to permanent standards, comply with current Building Regulations and have a design life of 60 years.

The hiring of modular accommodation is a fast, flexible and cost-effective way for healthcare providers to expand or relocate services, particularly on constrained hospital sites and funded from revenue rather than capital budget streams. The approach also gives NHS trusts greater flexibility as the facilities can be dismantled and removed if patient needs change.

Complete, fully-fitted buildings can be delivered in a fraction of the time of a site-based construction solution. Critically, buildings can be installed with far less disruption to patient care and the solution is much safer and quieter as fitting out can also be carried out off site.

Portakabin Hire provides accommodation for wards, recovery suites, dialysis units, diagnostics, out-patient departments and treatment centres. All the hospital facilities are constructed to the latest healthcare best practice design standards.


For further information about modular healthcare buildings for interim and permanent applications, visit, email or call 0845 401 0010.


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BDC 317 : Jun 2024