The design and build of a new specialist inpatient perinatal mental health unit, Jasmine Lodge, for mothers and babies took place in May 2019. The unit is based at Wonford Hospital in Devon with the capacity for 8 mothers and their babies.
The challenge with the build was to ensure the furniture specified met the following requirements:
As the project’s emphasis was to create a welcoming atmosphere for mothers, Tough Furniture worked closely with the subcontractors, MJ Medical as well as Grainge Architects Ltd on the design.
Grainge Architects Ltd managed the project, they needed a completely tailored solution for the bedrooms, ensuring they were not only in tune with the new building’s general aesthetics of light, colour and space but also durable and long-lasting.
We worked from a full set of architect’s drawings in the first instance, supplemented by a lot of detailed conversations with the contractor in order to hammer out exactly what was required.
This special manufacture project meant every item of furniture was installed and designed from scratch by our in-house design team.
As with all major projects, our primary focus is to get as close as we can to the architect’s original vision for the unit, within the constraints of our own manufacturing and design processes.
This requires us to explore all sorts of different options – and sometimes to gently suggest alternatives.
For example, we had to replace the originally requested adjustable shelves with our own fixed shelving unit, as based on our experience, the adjustable shelving first requested would not have been secure for an anti-ligature environment.
We were also required to deliver the project with completely invisible fixings, so had to make some adjustments to our usual design involving bolts and bushes for the interior carcase connections, and then a lot of pelleting to achieve the invisible fixings effect.
Projects of this scale always require a lot of flexibility on our part when it comes to design and installation.
A key challenge for us early on was that in order to meet the tight deadlines for completion of the project, we had to begin the design process without the full range of information we would normally work with. This was due to the rooms being at various stages of completion.
This meant a lot of e-mails back and forth, as well as telephone conversations to make sure that the information we were feeding into the design process was as accurate as possible, given that it changed so regularly.
Clear communication is vital in this situation, to make sure that the finished product is fit for the environment it’s going into.
On this job, in particular, we had a lot of last-minute changes relating to the placement of utilities in the room, and at one point had to completely redesign a storage unit to accommodate the sudden appearance of a set of plug sockets in the room.
The ‘wavy’ profile on the front of the bedroom storage units for this job also gave us an interesting set of design and manufacturing problems, but the clients were very happy with the final result.
Fortunately, another key element of this job was that we had actually installed furniture in a PICU unit on the same site the previous year, and there were some commonalities between that previous project and this one, which meant that we were able to take some of the things we’d learned on the first job and apply it to this one.
Our involvement with the project as a whole ran from November 2018 to June 2019 – from all the pre-contract investigation and discussion through to order, delivery, installation and final snagging.
The lead time from point of order to delivery to the site was 7 weeks, this was quick considering the entire order was bespoke manufactured items and the number of materials was high.
It took a 6 man team to complete the installation in 5 days. It was originally planned for a 3 man team over two weeks, but the client’s plans changed, so ours did too.
We initially had 2 scheduled deliveries to the site to get all the furniture in place, with some extra deliveries added in later in the process for some minor snagging. All deliveries were carried out by our Tough Furniture delivery team, with delivery direct to rooms and all packaging removed.
Projects of this size will generally range from between £40 – 90k depending on the number of rooms required and the balance of standard or bespoke manufactured items, as well as factors such as the quantity of furniture, access for site surveys, delivery and installation.
As with most of the large scale projects we work on, Tough Furniture also provided a full installation package, giving absolute peace of mind to the customer that the furniture has been installed correctly.
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