The Grange University Hospital

Gleeds have been providing project and cost management services to the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board (ABUHB) for several years, developing the business case for the Grange University Hospital (GUH) on a greenfield site in Llanfrechfa, near Cwmbran.

The Full Business Case (FBC) was approved by the Welsh Government at the end of 2017, which provided the green light to start construction of the 55,000m2 hospital. The £350m investment provides several specialist services in the new purpose-built facility including 471 inpatient beds, 11 theatres, 2 MRI scanners, an emergency department (ED), neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), special care baby unit (SCBU), labour/delivery department and a separate energy centre. 


reduction in programme duration


less construction workers on-site than traditional building methods


Added value

Modern Methods of Construction (MMC)

One of the key drivers to the success of this project is the use of modern methods of construction (MMC), particularly our recommendation to the client regarding the use of off-site manufacturing for the facades, M&E services and bathroom pods. 

We developed a detailed cost model and cashflow to comprehensively assess impact to programme and budget, and details of value for money/cost savings. Through this application, we were able to reduce the programme duration, costs, labour requirement and also health and safety risks whilst increasing the quality of workmanship. In terms of the programme, significant savings have been achieved through the use of MMC with a 23% reduction in programme duration.

This method has also allowed to reduce the amount of workers on-site, which in turn reduces the chance of incidents and injuries. We had 60 less construction workers on-site than traditional building methods.

Collaboration and stakeholder management

A second key driver to our success has been the collaborative environment we created through mutual trust and cooperation with all involved parties. Our aim from the onset was to fully adopt the ethos of the NEC contract and work in a collaborative and supportive environment.

Cultural changes were needed from all parties, but through team-building exercises, shared objectives and an understanding of each parties drivers for success we created a team that has truly worked together to solve issues, support each other through problems and always remembering the end goal of providing a high-quality hospital for the NHS. 

Demonstration of this collaborative behaviour was evidenced in our support through the COVID19 pandemic, where we were able to provide the ABUHB/NHS with vital bed capacity early, which was made possible through our early adoption of MMC and the strong relationships built over many years of working together.

Re-evaluation of BREEAM proposal

We challenged the services designer and BREEAM consultants on elements of the original proposal and collaboratively devised cost-saving solutions. As a result, we were able to achieve lower long-term building energy costs, reduced future maintenance requirements and better revenue cost. The project is BREEAM Excellent rating.

VAT recovery

We engaged with the Health Board VAT adviser to maximise VAT recovery, identifying additional costs incurred which had not been included in their original VAT assessment. This has allowed us to increase the VAT recovery percentage and create an overall reduction to project budget.

Lessons learned

The GUH has been a significant cornerstone of our healthcare capability and we are proud of the exemplar project that we have led. The GUH committed to doing things differently through the use of MMC and in doing so we have demonstrated how healthcare, and wider public sector projects, can be successful in terms of programme, cost and innovation.

Our upfront approach with procurement and our commitment to investing in the early stages of design development, design reviews and mapping of requirements has paid dividends since, with limited client changes and more security around cost and programme.

Evidence of successful delivery:

  • Ahead of programme, due to fully open 4 months ahead of schedule
  • Under budget;
  • Worked with the Health Board to acquire an adjacent field for disposal of 100,000m3 of excavated materials due to site levels, achieving significant cost savings;
  • Due to our success on this project, we continue to be a key partner on the Design For Life Building for Wales Framework.
I know we have had a few challenges, but it has been pretty smooth on the whole given the task in hand and Gleeds' calm and professional approach is a key contributor to that. Nicola Prygodzicz, Executive Director - The Grange University
Project Director
Roger Pulham

Roger Pulham
Director, Healthcare Strategy Lead

Victoria Head is a consummate professional and has handled some of the bumps in the road with a high degree of mastery of both relationships and process. The project is performing well and this is in huge part to Gleeds and I know that we would not be where we are without them. Corrina Casey - Clinical Futures Lead, The Grange University Hospital