Healthy development

A number of hospitals are now being constructed or extended throughout Poland. So, we decided to take a look at just a few of these projects and how modern systems, such as BIM, are being employed to bring them up to today’s standards

In June 2023, an enlargement project for Bielański Hospital in Warsaw is to be completed, by which time it will have gained a new five-storey wing of over 10,000 sqm. The city commissioned the work through the MPRI [the Miejskie Przedsiębiorstwo Realizacji Inwestycji] investment vehicle. According to the body: “Bielański hospital is one of the largest state hospitals in Poland, which in 2020 celebrated its 60th anniversary. It has over 560 beds for patients. The hospital’s extension and modernisation is an important investment for the city and through this it will gain a new operating block with ten theatres, a central sterilisation unit and post-operative units. In the new wing an intensive care unit is to be opened as well as a psychiatric ward for adults, a rehabilitation unit, laboratories and technical facilities.” The new wing is to be connected to the main building of the hospital and is also to include two bed and logistics lifts, two lifts for visitors and outpatients, as well as a technical room level. The city council themselves has proudly declared that: “With the addition of the newly built ward, it will become one of the most modern and best equipped facilities. The expansion and modernisation of Bielański Hospital is a long-awaited investment and the project for this was developed with the participation of the centre’s medical staff to take into account the real needs of patients and medical services. Over the 60 years of its existence, the centre has been constantly changing to meet new challenges. In recent years, the hospital has received almost PLN 40 mln in subsidies from the city’s budget, thanks to which the following departments have been upgraded: vascular surgery, internal surgery, neurosurgery, gynaecology and obstetrics, urology and the hospital emergency ward.”

Modelled to perfection

According to Warsaw City Council, another reason why the renovated hospital stands out is that it is one of the first to be built using the BIM 5D design system. “The modernisation and expansion project for Bielański Hospital will be the first facility of this type in Poland constructed using BIM (building information modelling). This innovative way of designing, developing and managing a project involves using a digital 3D model of the construction project as well as a communication platform at each stage of construction. Using such modelling, all the construction work can be fully coordinated. After the completion of the project, the intelligent building is then managed by a BIM facility management system,” explains Warsaw City Council.

As MPRI also points out: “This guarantees the high-quality development of the project, the avoidance of collisions and conflicts between the different parties working on it, as well as the eventual project management.” But didn’t the use of BIM generate additional costs? “It actually generated savings by identifying the areas where potential collisions could occur and it also sped up the construction process itself,” claims the MPRI.

At the time the construction contract was awarded, Thomas Birtel, the CEO of the winner, Strabag, declared: “I am proud that we are the first construction company in Poland to use BIM 5D in the construction of a hospital. Reliable cost and planning projections are extremely important, especially in public procurement projects – and BIM 5D is a way of guaranteeing all this. This method provides the greatest possible transparency for all involved and helps us to set new standards as a technology leader on the Polish market.”

Ready and waiting

Much of the construction work for the new building has already been completed, but the new hospital is not yet ready to open. The City of Warsaw has revealed that “currently, the applications for technical approvals required by law are being reviewed, including by the fire service. This, as well as the fitting out of the facility, will take app. 2–3 months. Tenders have also been announced for the supply of medical equipment, furniture and accessories for the new building, for which the city has allocated almost PLN 70 mln. By the end of this year, we plan to complete the entire project, transfer patients and open a medical block in the new wing. Part of the old hospital building is also earmarked for renovation.”

What might be considered somewhat unusual about the work is that it has been entirely funded from the city budget. “The total cost of the development is around PLN 200 mln, including the costs of equipping the centre with medical equipment, furniture and accessories,” state MPRI the building. According to the city of Warsaw themselves, there was a simple reason why they did not apply for any EU financing for the project. “There were no dedicated EU funds for projects related to the construction of hospitals at that time.”

However, Bielański is not the only major hospital project in Warsaw. Warsaw’s Southern Hospital was originally was opened early in February 2021 as a temporary hospital for those suffering from Covid. In March, this year the decision was finally taken to allow it to take up its original planned purpose. According to the City: “The transfer of departments from the Solec Hospital to the Southern Hospital has already been completed. All of the departments transferred from the centre in Solec are already operating in the Southern Hospital, including the internal department with a cardiology sub-unit, the accident and emergency and the intensive care unit, the gynaecology and obstetrics ward, the neonatal, and orthopaedic wards, including a team experienced in endoprosthesis, the general surgery ward and the ICU and endoscopy lab.”

Beyond the capital

Outside Warsaw other hospitals are also under construction or have just been built. On July 28th last year, construction work began on the Central Integrated Clinical Hospital in Poznań by the Karol Marcinkowski University of Medicine. The total investment cost comes to over PLN 590 mln, of which PLN 520 mln is being provided by the state budget. The project is also being financed by the European Investment Bank with additional funding from the European Fund for Strategic Investment. The hospital is to eventually have a useable area of around 45,000 sqm and is scheduled for completion in 2026, but the first stage, including the accident and emergency ward, is to open at the end of 2023/beginning of 2024. Upon its completion, the hospital is to have 860 beds. It is intended to replace two existing hospitals in Poznań: the Szpital Kliniczny Przemienienia Pańskiego UM hospital and the Szpital Kliniczny H. Święcickiego UM hospital, since they are both located in older buildings that do not meet modern hospital requirements.

In Zabrze, Erbud this year handed over the Prof Zbigniew Religa Silesian Clinical and Research Centre for the Prevention and Treatment of Environmental, Civilisation and Ageing Diseases in October. The 12,500 sqm hospital is a PLN 107.7 mln design-and-build project by Erbud and will be able to treat around 124 patents. “The timing of the investment was also remarkable, coinciding with the pandemic and the outbreak of war in Ukraine. Despite these unprecedentedly adverse circumstances, we have delivered the project on schedule and within the budget. This is clear confirmation that we have the expertise to build hospitals,” explains Jacek Leczkowski, the vice-president of Erbud.