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Working in partnership with BRE to ensure thermal modelling meets regulations

1 July, 2024
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The British Research Establishment (BRE) is a profit-for-purpose global business that has been raising standards in the built environment for over a century.

Why BRE?

As an international provider of robust, independent, third-party certification for fire, security and environmental products and services, BRE has worked in partnership with Vanguard Healthcare Solutions on a number of UK-based projects in recent years. Most recently, BRE has work with us to ensure thermal modelling, heat transfer and moisture assessments for the Nuffield Health Tees Hospital modular build project to assess the conservation of fuel and power to meet building regulations.

How Vanguard and BRE are working in harmony

Vanguard Healthcare Solutions is leading on the construction of two new operating theatres on a two-story purpose-built extension at Nuffield Health Tees Hospital, part of the wider Nuffield Health charity. This will replace the hospital’s two existing operating theatres, which are 43 years old, and is integral for the benefit of NHS and privately paying patients in the local community. The new theatres are being constructed using modern methods of construction and will be modular buildings, while the bulk of the construction is carried out off-site, reducing disruption for the hospital’s neighbours. In addition, the project will create more parking spaces at the hospital site in Stockton-on-Tees to accommodate overflow.

To meet building regulations, thermal modelling consultants at BRE accessed our designs, to evaluate its thermal performance under typical heat variances from within the building by using software to run simulations on the transfer of heat from within, to without, and then then compared that against the set guidelines and regulations.

Specifically, BRE assessed:

  • Risks of condensation
  • How well the building is insulated
  • Potential thermal bypasses where heat could escape (through metal structures)
  • Airspaces for ventilation, including under the floor
  • Overall potential heat loss to the building

BRE also paid particular attention to the highest risk areas of the building that could impact heat loss, such as:

  • The types of insulation used
  • Metal components that may link the inner and outer parts of the construction
  • The metal components leading to the foundations – where heat may be lost into the ground

Why this matters

The UK government has a commitment to reducing the energy use of buildings, which meant that we worked closely with BRE to use additional insulation where feasible, and to take a holistic view of the whole fabric of the building – including the walls, windows, and roof – to determine whether there was an increased risk of excessive heat loss.

BRE’s report compared the levels we at Vanguard are achieving in terms of energy and efficiency through the fabric of the building. This not only meets regulations, but ensures cost efficiencies for Nuffield Health Tees Hospital, too.

Throughout the assessment process, Vanguard ensured that BRE was equipped with all relevant information to produce robust calculations.

Work started at Nuffield Health Tees Hospital on January 8th, 2024, with a completion date anticipated for September 2024. The two new theatres will provide vital services for patients locally requiring joint replacements, spinal care, eyecare, prostate, gynaecology, and women’s health services.

"We have worked with BRE on many projects, and a key strength clearly is their knowledge of modern methods of construction, and modular buildings. Given that most of the construction is off-site, it’s vital this level of understanding and expertise aligns with ours. Working with BRE on the Nuffield Health Tees Hospital has allowed us to work efficiently, while they also equipped us with counsel to help manoeuvre where needed, and at speed."
Lindsay Dransfield, Chief Commercial Officer

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