The Bluebell Centre

What’s happening at Bluebell?

The Bluebell Technology Strategy Board (TSB) project was led by JM Architects and Renova bid in a competition entitled ‘Building Performance Evaluation – Non Domestic’. The bid was successful and Renova was awarded with approximately £40,000 to complete a two year detailed study of Bluebell with a dedicated and technically qualified team of consultants. There is an agreed action plan to carry out the study which is managed by Renova and is used to apply to the fund. The study began in February 2012 and finishes in July 2014.

What is the Technology Strategy Board (TSB)?

The TSB is the UK’s innovation agency. It was established by the Government and operates at arm’s length as a business-led executive non-departmental public body (NDPB) and is government funded.  The TSB has many focus areas such as the built environment, energy and healthcare and runs competitions for organisations to bid for funding; for the purpose of research and development in these areas.

One current healthcare project being run by the TSB is Project DALLAS (Delivering Assisted Living Lifestyles at Scale) which is aimed at transforming the lives of people through the development and use of innovative technology products, systems and services to improve well-being and increase independence. Liverpool’s ‘Feelgood Factory’ consortia have been successful in securing a contract to deliver DALLAS. Liverpool CCG, Liverpool Community Health, Liverpool City Council, Tunstall and Informatics Merseyside are part of this consortium.

Why do it?

Bluebell is a significant step from the norm for provision of buildings of this type and was one of the first health buildings to achieve a BREEAM ‘excellent ‘rating and one of the first low energy schemes to be completed in the primary care sector following the introduction of new part L. This type of study was selected to provide feedback to enable the design team to confirm whether the building performed to predictions and to make recommendations for improving the strategy for future healthcare schemes.

Also, at an early stage after operation it was identified that the actual energy consumption was much higher than the predicted consumption. The green bar in the diagram shows the predicted consumption as stated in the building logbook, the blue bar shows actual energy consumption during year 1 and red bar in the diagram shows actual energy consumption in year 2; which was 2.3 times greater than the predicted consumption– and we wanted to know why!

What is the overall output?

A case study to assist with government benchmarking and national design improvements

What are the benefits to Renova?

  • Feedback into design to improve future schemes and in turn improve customer satisfaction
  • Improved and more comprehensive O&M manuals which will allow the FM provider to become more informed and therefore provide a more efficient service
  • Dedicated time and competent resource to resolve M&E defects and design issues which also improves customer satisfaction
  • Improved understanding of client requirements and how users impact design predictions to improve offering going forward
  • Industry and client recognition via the case study

What are the benefits to the NHS?

  • Happier tenants as a result of the resolution of design and defect issues
  • More productive occupants due to improved comfort conditions
  • Reduced energy consumption and cost savings; allows savings to be reinvested into front line services
  • A sustainable facility to support NHS service change for years to come

Progress to date & key findings:

Task Key Findings
Winter operation review Poor operation & control of optimised heating & cooling systems; recommendations have been implemented
Energy audit Hot water heating system not operating as designed; improvements have been made
Daylight check Lux levels were too high; levels have been corrected
Design team interviews More M&E aftercare is needed and for a sustained period
Building User Study (BUS) Surveys Tenants like the building, are comfortable, and find the building facilities meet their need
Renova Sustainability Policy Examination Occupant engagement policy for the operational phase needs formalising going forward
Implement energy management system software Monitoring phase has begun, data analysis to be completed
Initial draft of case study This summarises the findings in greater detail

Tasks to complete:

  • Thermal imaging
  • Occupant interviews
  • Metering analysis
  • Controls review
  • Lessons learned workshop
  • Final draft of case study

Feedback from the tenants:

Throughout the study the project team has actively engaged with the tenants and obtained regular feedback regarding the site itself and the actual BPE study. The results of the BUS survey revealed that Bluebell scores very well in most categories compared to benchmarks:

Some sound bites from the survey:

“The design is friendly and fresh”

“The building is bright and relaxing”

“Inside it looks modern; like a ski lodge!”

“The building is light and airy with lots of natural light”

“I am a lot happier at this site”

Next Steps:

Conclude the study & present to the Board during Summer 2014