Critical oxygen system for Royal London coronavirus wards delivered in 21 days

Critical oxygen system for Royal London coronavirus wards delivered in 21 days

Critical oxygen system for Royal London coronavirus wards delivered in 21 days

Royal London Covid 19 ward

Project: Royal London Hospital Coronavirus Wards

Client: Barts Health Hospital Trust

Timing: April 2020

Value: £0.9M


Medical Gases worked around the clock to provide the essential oxygen delivery systems to two floors at Royal London, providing capacity for coronavirus patients to relieve the pressure on other hospital facilities and providing a lasting legacy of increased capacity.



Barts Health hospital trust instructed Medical Gases to provide a system to supply essential Oxygen, Medical air 4 Bar and Medical Vacuum to the previously mothballed 14th and 15th floors at the Royal London Hospital serving 176 intensive care and high dependency beds. The project had to be delivered in three weeks.


The Challenge

Timing was the obvious initial challenge of the project, which necessitated condensing a project that involved over 6000 metres of pipework and 700 medical gas terminals, and would ordinarily take six months, into the three-week schedule.


Putting in the extra hours to deliver

Credit for the successful delivery of the project must go to the onsite team of thirty who worked twelve to fourteen-hour shifts during the contract to ensure its success, complying with the additional requirements of Covid-19 safe working. The team started on site on 7th April and fully completed, including commissioning, just over three weeks later on 1st May. Medical Gases staff on site and off, and the collective expertise built during the company’s 37 years of designing and installing gas delivery systems, proved its value. A less skilled or motivated team could not have achieved the speed or quality of result that was demonstrated in completing this contract in such a short period.


Teamwork to overcome access issues

Access is often an issue on contracts in London. In this case the challenge was having one service lift between the basement and the 15th floor for the circa 250 people working there. Due to safe distancing, the lift could only be used by four people at a time so there was a challenge for the team getting to the floors but there was also a challenge in getting the necessary material up. Medical gas degreased copper tube comes in six metre lengths which would not fit in the lift. Cutting the pipework in half to move it up in the lift and then joining it again would be far too time consuming and create unnecessary jointing. Working as a team, forty men, working two on each landing, passed the pipework up the stairwell between the handrails in a procedure which took four and a half hours but undoubtedly saved time on the project and achieved a superior result.

royal london pipes

Site access in lockdown

To ensure as few delays as possible in getting the people and resources required on site, everyone involved in the project was issued with a document to present to police etc. as required, identifying them as carrying out essential work.

Euston Council’s relaxed parking restrictions and NCP reduced parking rates meant many of the onsite team did not have to travel by public transport. Medical Gases provided electric scooters to those still using over ground trains to get from station to site.


Fuelling the workers

Although there was no onsite canteen the hospital provided workers with picnics. Medical Gases is extremely grateful to everyone who worked with them to achieve what was required and was also touched by the support of the community. The curry house opposite the site – Sonargaon Restaurant, Whitechapel Road – which had stayed open with a take-away service, supplied the initial team of thirty with a curry free of charge.


Increased capacity now and for the future

The new floors at the Royal London have provided six critical care wards, which have enabled the space that was used for Covid-19 patients to be returned to its previous use, allowing routine services like elective surgery to restart.


“This facility allows our teams to separate Covid and non-Covid patients, and will help us encourage other patients who require treatment, but have not been able to attend hospital in recent weeks, to come back for essential surgery or care.”

Jackie Sullivan, chief executive of the Royal London

Source: Evening Standard


“These new wards will be used for many years to come, both during this pandemic and to meet other health needs of our wider local population.”

Alwen Williams, Barts Health group chief executive

Source: Evening Standard


Medical Gases delivered this significant project, and a concurrent project to provide essential oxygen at The Dragon’s Heart Hospital, at a speed not previously thought possible, and with no compromise on quality. It is a testament to all those involved. We are immensely proud of all our staff and the 70 installation engineers, who have worked so hard to deliver, and showed their commitment in such challenging circumstances, and are grateful to the suppliers who went above and beyond to support them. Thank you all.

Providing essential oxygen systems for emergency COVID-19 Intensive Care facilities

Providing essential oxygen systems for emergency  COVID-19 Intensive Care facilities

Providing essential oxygen systems for emergency
COVID-19 Intensive Care facilities

stadium aerial shot

We are immensely proud of our team who worked around the clock at the start of the COVID-19 shutdown to deliver essential oxygen systems for three emergency COVID-19 Intensive Care facilities in London and Cardiff. Our dedicated teams demonstrated their commitment in extremely challenging circumstances delivering new facilities at The Royal London, Epsom General and The Dragons Heart Hospital, Principality Stadium, Cardiff. They were ably supported by our suppliers who went above and beyond their normal service to help us to deliver the projects on schedule, on budget with no compromise on quality.


Timing was the obvious challenge –  projects that would ordinarily take months to design, plan and install, had to be delivered in a matter of weeks to provide emergency additional capacity for coronavirus patients and relieve the pressure on existing hospital facilities. To be able to achieve this, our resources had to be temporarily diverted from existing projects, and installation teams worked twelve to fourteen-hour shifts, whist complying with the additional requirements of COVID-19 safe working, to deliver the projects on time. Maintaining the quality and the standards required was as crucial as the timing, and the projects had to be signed off by the NHS Trust’s pharmacist as fit for use, with all quality standards meeting the pharmacist’s requirements. All projects were signed off on time with no issues.


Predictably, securing the necessary materials during the COVID-19 shutdown was also challenging, and we relied heavily on the relationships we have built over the years with our supply chain who, whilst also working under extreme pressure supplying the majority of the coronavirus emergency hospitals, still managed to manufacture and supply the necessary medical equipment and pipework, without which we would not have been able to complete the projects.


Few companies have the depth of experience, knowledge, expertise and trusted supply partners we have accumulated over 40 years of designing and installing gas delivery systems, all of which contributed to us to succeeding in delivering these projects, in time scales which prior to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic would not have been considered for projects of this size, without compromise on quality.

Total clean utilities solution for B Braun’s state-of-the-art production facility

Total clean utilities solution for B Braun’s state-of-the-art production facility



Total clean utilities solution for B Braun’s state-of-the-art production facility




Purified water is an essential ingredient in intravenous saline solution, which is one of the products produced by medical technology company B Braun. Puretech was commissioned to provide a single source solution for the essential clean utilities, including this purified water, water for injection, steam and compressed air, at the company’s new world-class production facility in Malaysia. Puretech worked with B Braun from design to validation to provide the required systems.



B Braun is one of the world’s largest medical technology companies. Over a period of nine years the company has expanded its facilities in Penang, Malaysia with a project encompassing five new and enhanced production plants and other administrative buildings. The result is a state-of-the art facility featuring the latest building and production technologies for the manufacture medical devices for infusion therapy, pharmaceutical solutions and surgical instruments for the treatment of patients in Malaysia and around the world.


The project

Project summary

The design, manufacture, co-ordination, supply, installation, testing and commissioning and validation of turnkey high integrity delivery systems:

  • Purified water (PW) generation (Genesys)
  • Purified water (PW) storage and distribution
  • Water for injection (WFI) generation
  • Water for injection (WFI) storage and distribution
  • Pure steam generation and distribution
  • Clean compressed air distribution (CDA)


Detailed design study to meet exacting specification

Initially, Puretech was contracted to carry out a detailed design study to meet the specifications set out for B Braun’s planned new production facility at Bayan Lepas, Panang, Malaysia.

Co-ordinating with other contractors, Puretech provided detailed process piping and instrumentation diagrams (P&IDs), schedules, general arrangement (GA) drawings and 3D modelling of the entire clean utilities building.


Design to validation

Each system was fully designed and engineered at Puretech’s facility in Surrey, including the controls system integration into the client’s process control system.

All of the site piping, including the process connections to the client’s equipment and process vessels, was undertaken on site by Puretech. Individual skids for the PW systems and WFI system were built at Puretech in the UK and shipped to Malaysia for installation into the new clean utilities building.

All piping systems were fully validated, including site installation qualification, operation qualification (IQ/OQ) and full engineering data books to support the complete installation.


Meeting the challenges

Puretech supplies systems throughout the world and, through experience, has learnt to adapt to the challenges of a variety of climates and to be flexible and innovative in carrying out installations where the availability of general consumables and infrastructure parts is limited, as was the case for this project. Welding plant, tools and equipment of the quality required were also not readily available locally for this project and the climate and logistics of an overseas installation were compounded by a scarcity of appropriately qualified people locally.

Puretech Project Manager, Ian Chapman lived in Malaysia for 18 months to be on-site and to overcome any issues, ensuring successful delivery. Puretech worked to a tight programme for the production plant to be available and in service ready for commissioning. The total project from initial discussion took around three and a half years, with the installation and site works taking less than 15 months of this, including commissioning and validation. For the passivation acid rinse of the pipework Puretech sent out its own passivation kit and expert and bought citric acid locally.

The sheer scale of this project, which is one of the largest LVP (large volume parenteral) installations in Asia, was a step change for Puretech. Typically, systems contain 10 000 litres, the installation at  B Braun contains 100 000 litres of WFI split into two 50 000 litre vessels.


“We are very proud of our delivery of this significant project, working in challenging conditions and to a tight programme. The client was very impressed with the quality of our work”

Robert Smith, Sales and Commercial Director


Producing a vital ingredient

The system Puretech has designed for B Braun supplies WFI for LVP and SVP holding intravenous saline solutions for bags. The WFI is a carrier for Braun’s product and a vital ingredient, forming more than 90% of the final product.

A system designed for a facility in a hot climate must be modified accordingly. For B Braun the system feed water is warm, 25° versus circa <15° for European projects, so has to be chilled to 15°c for purified water to reduce microbiological growth. Purified water has to be distributed in insulated piping to maintain this. WFI is maintained at 70 to 80°c .


Safety and sustainability

In terms of safety, throughout the installation and site works Puretech had zero accidents. Puretech is conscious of sustainability in the design and delivery of its systems. In this instance the necessary hardware was packed in wooden crates and shipped in containers. There was very little on site wastage, which is always Puretech’s objective.