The new Apley House administration building at the Royal United Hospital (RUH) in Bath has scooped two awards at this year’s South West Built Environment Awards, winning both the ‘Innovation’ and ‘Value’ award categories.
Designed by architects SRA, the building’s brick façade is clad in the Gebrik Insulating Brick Cladding System, supplied by Clevedon-based (for local media) Aquarian Cladding Systems Ltd.
Bath-based SRA’s design incorporates the panel-based Gebrik system into its own innovative Öppen building method, delivering a staggering 40% reduction in build time and 15% reduction in capital costs when compared to traditional construction methods. Öppen has provided the hospital with a durable, flexible and cost effective building that elegantly responds to both its current and future purpose.
Commenting after the Awards ceremony, Aquarian Cladding’s Managing Director, Paul Richards, said: “Naturally we are delighted and very proud to have been part of such a successful project - it is not often that a project wins an award for both innovation and value! Our congratulations go to everyone involved in the scheme at the RUH and to the whole design and construction team.”
Approximately 650m² of Gebrik in a VS70-00 cream finish to match the adjacent Bath stone buildings was installed by specialist cladding contractor CRL Facades in just eight full working days. This rapid installation contributed significantly to the speed and cost savings achieved by the build programme, as well as reducing the amount of disruption time on site and enabling the new facility to be opened and used within four months of starting on site.
The judges’ citation in the Innovation Award category praised the project for having used, “a whole team approach to bring together all the specialist expertise needed to develop a building system fit for the 21st Century” and went on to comment on the construction method itself: “Prefabrication, flat-packed delivery and site assembly reduces the need for skilled labour; and repetition provides opportunities for continuous improvement. As a result, clients get better quality, lower costs, and greater long term adaptability, in two words: Better Value."
In the Value Award category, the citation contained fulsome praise for the project: “The winning entry is truly exceptional. It is a project which has demonstrated that by questioning all factors involved in developing and constructing a building, new and more economic solutions can be introduced.”
The project embraces the principles of Construction 2025 and when officially opening the building, the Government Chief Construction Adviser, Dr Peter Hansford, said: “This is the start of a new age of building in the UK to ensure the targets of Construction 2025 are met.” The project has also been selected as a Cabinet Office Trial Project for 2025, reflecting the exceptional value in time and investment that has been delivered by the design and construction team.
This is the eighth year that the Built Environment awards have been held, during which time they have become firmly established as the premier awards for the construction industry in the south west. Run jointly by the Chartered Institute of Building and Construction Excellence, the awards recognise and celebrate best practice in the region, with each of the winning projects going on to compete in the National Constructing Excellence Awards.