British Gypsum provides safe and secure solution for mental health unit


Plasterboard and ceiling solutions specified to meet acoustic, fire and safety demands at The Harbour, Blackpool

British Gypsum plaster, plasterboard and ceiling solutions have been specified to meet the acoustic, fire and safety demands for a new £40m mental health inpatient unit at The Harbour, Blackpool.

When faced with the challenge of creating a safe and secure healthcare unit that would promote recovery and independence for the patients of The Harbour, Gilling Dod Architects needed a robust and durable build that could withstand the wear and tear of a specialist hospital environment.

The 154-bed mental health building aims to provide a new model of service for people aged 18 and over, and includes advanced healthcare, dementia and psychiatric intensive care patient wards.

Gyproc DuraLine and GypWall Robust were installed in the corridors and reception areas of the build to provide greater impact resistance. A two-coat solution of Thistle Hardwall basecoat and Thistle MultiFinish skim coat were also used on these areas, including the bedrooms, to provide a more hard-wearing finish.

Mark Cowpland, associate at Gilling Dod Architects, said: “We’ve used British Gypsum products before and fully trusted that they would provide a great end result.

“Due to the nature of the building, it was vital to ensure the wellbeing and safety of the staff, patients and visitors at The Harbour. We therefore selected a system with greater durability and resistance to impact.

“While a key focus was on the robustness of the build, our aim for the project was to create an environment that had a hotel look, feel and layout, rather than that of a hospital. We created a wander loop design, which is a continuous curved wall structure from the inside out, limiting shadows and removing obstacles such as abrupt doors that can have negative impacts on a patient’s stay.”

Finding a solution that would help lengthen maintenance cycles was also a key priority to minimise disruption to the patients of The Harbour at a later date. The British Gypsum products chosen helped meet these requirements by preventing the need for regular repair work.

Nigel Plant, senior project manager for main contractor, VINCI Construction UK, said: “The products specified allowed us to balance cost with quality, limiting maintenance costs for the project in the future.”

To meet fire and safety criteria, British Gypsum FireCase was also installed to provide greater fire protection to the structure with a smooth, robust surface.

Cowpland said: “Alongside fire performance, acoustics were a key concern for us. Patient privacy and confidentiality are extremely important, and variations in sound can be a real issue. We needed quality products, with proven results and the specified plaster gives greater acoustic performance, creating a peaceful and private environment.”

John Brown, contracts manager for subcontractor, Preston Dryliners, who installed the British Gypsum system, added: “The two-coat plaster solution took much less time than the dot-and-dab method, and was necessary due to the size of the job.”

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Casoline MF and Casoline QUICK-LOCK GRID suspended ceiling systems were also used throughout the building to create a fully-concealed, seamless appearance in key areas.

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