Modular construction firm Darwin Group has been chosen to deliver a new £33m COVID-19 hospital building in Cardiff to ensure capacity for patients in the event of a second spike in serious coronavirus cases.
The temporary building at University Hospital of Wales will accommodate up to 400 beds and will be known as the new Lakeside Wing.
The facility will replace some of the capacity as the Welsh Government decommissions the Principality Stadium as a 2,000-bed field hospital, which was delivered by ES Global. The first phase of the new Cardiff building will be delivered by 25 November, with the hospital due to be delivered in its entirety by early February 2021.
Construction has begun and will take place round the clock throughout the project.
Darwin managing director Charles Pierce said: "We are fully aware of the impact and importance of this facility, and how crucial it could be for the potential COVID-19 patients it may aid.
"We live in uncertain times and we understand the need to act quickly at a time when it is needed most. Our team is experienced in delivering quality builds under tight time constraints and will that the delivery and installation of this project is completed smoothly and with minimal disruption."
Geoff Walsh, Cardiff and Vale University Health Board director of capital, estates and facilities, said: "Although construction is moving at pace and we're working to a tight schedule, every decision is made with our patients' and staff members' safety in mind. We anticipate no services, patient clients or appointments will be affected by construction."
Darwin Group also announced today that it has repaid just over £136,000 previously claimed through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. It said eight employees were furloughed during the pandemic but all have since returned to work. The firm added that furlough cash has been returned because "other firms will be in a far greater need". Pierce explained: "It is our responsibility to give back following recent new business wins."
From April, a host of field hospitals were constructed across the UK, including two Vinci projects in Wales converting the Canolfan Brailsford sports centre at Bangor University into a 230-bed hospital, and the Deeside Leisure Centre in Queensferry into a 185-bed hospital.
Kier and TRJ also turned a former film studio in Swansea into an 850-bed unit for coronavirus patients. Last month CN revealed how much was paid to the contractors at the Swansea facility, and the Scottish Government released details of how much it paid to turn the Scottish Events Campus (SEC) in Glasgow into a health site.