Phenolic Pipe Insulation Hospital Aerial View

When it came to selecting phenolic pipe insulation, as with everything about this groundbreaking project, performance was a dominant factor. The Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital is all about performance.

“… designed to be as efficient as possible…”

In the words of James McFetrich, a consultant in emergency medicine at the hospital, “The hospital has been designed specifically to be as efficient as possible when it comes to caring for emergency patients.”

The £95 million hospital is not only dedicated to providing emergency care but will provide it 24/7, with A&E consultants and a wide range of other specialists on hand round the clock. There are 210 acute beds spread across seven specialist wards and an array of state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment designed to significantly close the gap between admission and treatment.

“… optimising patient care.”

When award-winning, multidisciplinary architects Keppie Design created their vision for the hospital, they naturally produced something that was aesthetically striking. The design comprised a series of interconnected circles. The end result looked not unlike a vast, contemporary castle, complete with turrets. However, this design wasn’t purely an aesthetic choice; it also achieved the objective of dramatically reducing travel distances between departments, optimising patient care.

“… built to the highest performance and safety specifications.”

This commitment to efficiency, effectiveness and performance was also a driving factor during the specification process, with NSECH being built to the highest performance and safety specifications. To achieve this over a two year programme, all packages within the build had to ensure the highest quality standards, with the most efficient completion possible.

As pipework insulation was being carried out as a combination of pre-insulated pipework and installation on-site, an insulation product was required that would be suitable for this two-fold approach whilst also satisfying the quality and performance criteria.

“54,000 metres of phenolic pipe insulation…”

Phenolic pipe insulation was specified by the M&E contractor, with SIG’s BetaPlus emerging as the preferred product based on the consistency of product manufacture, performance properties and technical support available from the SIG team.

Whilst a major part of the pipework was completed using BetaPlus in pre-insulated form, over 54,000 linear metres of phenolic pipe insulation had to be installed on-site by Tyne Tees Thermal Limited. Tyne Tees Thermal are highly experienced thermal insulation contractors, having not only worked on hospitals such as the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle but also the extremely challenging task of supplying and installing thermal pipe insulation to the Halley VI British Antarctic Survey Head Quarters in Antarctica, where the average winter temperature is about -49°C and the coldest temperature recorded was -89.6°C at Vostok station in 1983. To put this into perspective, a typical home freezer has an operating temperature of about -15°C. And to put those 54,000 linear metres into perspective, that’s about 121 Empire State Buildings.

“BetaPlus is the only phenolic pipe insulation that has the consistency we require…”

BetaPlus Phenolic Pipe Insulation is supplied with a factory applied Class O aluminium foil vapour barrier and a chemically applied bore coating. It can also be provided in plain or other facings. Each section is cut from a solid block using the latest state of the art machinery ensuring that all circular sections are concentric and precisely matched for thickness.

Commenting on the use of BetaPlus phenolic pipe insulation at NSECH, Chris Morton, Managing Director at Tyne Tees Thermal, said, “As a contractor, various criteria have to met and BetaPlus is the only phenolic pipe insulation that has the consistency we require across a number of factors: bore accuracy, foil facing precision and thickness tolerance.”

“Importantly, the thicknesses are exact on both sides of the bore and at both ends of the section. This doesn’t happen with all products on the market and is actually a critical success factor when it comes to an accurate and robust installation on site.

“There were zero quality issues with BetaPlus at NSECH, which, given the scale of the installation, and the fast turnaround times we were working to, is testament to the unrivalled quality of manufacture.”