The Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is responsible for providing hospital services to over 500,000 people across the Bradford district in the UK. Its Women’s and Newborn Unit at Bradford Royal Infirmary is one of Bradford’s most well-known hospital buildings, where over 200,000 babies have been born since it was established over 50 years ago.

The challenge

Built in the 1960s, the façade of the hospital’s Women’s and New-born Unit had never been upgraded. Heatloss, draughts, noise and leaks were just some of the issues that made the five-storey building a cold and difficult space for patients and staff alike.

For Property Tectonics, the architect and lead consultancy company who oversaw the renovation, the team also needed to meet strict criteria in terms of fire safety and energy efficiency on the project.

“We worked extremely closely with the hospital to demonstrate the robustness and safety of the design as well as the products we selected,” explains Richard Rhodes-Heaton, the company’s Principal Surveyor.

While the renovation work was underway, the Women’s and New-born Unit had to be fully operational. This meant that everyone involved in the project had to be considerate of the patients and staff still visiting and working in the hospital.

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Bradford, United Kingdom

Project location

Maternity Hospital
United Kingdom


The solution

The work on site began in November 2017. Property Tectonics decided that insulation from ROCKWOOL and ventilated façade cladding from Rockpanel were the perfect solutions to make the hospital a more comfortable and energy efficient facility for staff and patients.

To start, they installed ROCKWOOL RAINSCREEN DUO SLAB® – a thermally efficient insulation that secures a robust outer surface and a resilient inner face. Made from stone wool, RAINSCREEN DUO SLAB® is A1 fire rated as non-combustible for optimum fire resilience. It brings the added benefit of being highly resistance to wind and rain during construction, which, together with the minimal number of fixings required, made the installation quick and easy. The thermal benefits of the ROCKWOOL solution reduces heat loss and helps the hospital optimise costs by operating in a more energy efficient way.

To fulfil the highest fire safety requirements for exterior cladding, Rockpanel A2 façade board was deployed to create a unique identity and authentic appearance to future-proof the building.

“When it came to selecting the cladding for the project, it was a truly group-based decision,” says Richard Rhodes-Heaton. “Property Tectonics put together six different designs, and the Trust as well as the staff picked the option they preferred. It allowed us to involve everyone in the project and give them a say about how their place of work would look, which is important for employee engagement.”

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Proven fire protection

Fire safety was a vital aspect of this project, and Property Tectonics needed to meet strict criteria and to demonstrate the robustness and safety of the design and the products used.

ROCKWOOL’s fire protection solutions can slow the spread of flames, contain fires locally and stop them from spreading further. Resilient stone wool insulation is a key component in fire-resilient buildings, as its fibres are non-combustible and can resist temperatures above 1,000°C.

Extensive testing and reliable quality from ROCKWOOL means that the products are proven to be fire safe – and this was important following the UK Government’s announcement banning combustible materials in all high
rise residential buildings as well as hospitals, schools and care homes.

"The scheme represents a great example of teamwork by hospital staff and their professional advisors - at every level - to produce a very successful outcome.”

Prof. Trevor Mole

MD Property Tectonics

Attractive and fire safe

Applied on top of an aluminium supporting structure and fixed with blind rivets, Rockpanel A2 boards were used in combination with ROCKWOOL’s RAINSCREEN DUO SLAB®. The Rockpanel boards weigh very little compared to alternative board materials, such as high pressure laminate (HPL), aluminium composite (ACM) and fibre cement (FCB). Rockpanel can be easily worked with on site and without special tools, saving installation time and costs. It’s recyclable and has a confirmed lifetime of 50 years. All boards are as durable as stone and resistant to the effects of moisture, temperature and the weather.

A maternity ward is a special place where the indoor environment is vital. The acoustic properties of the ROCKWOOL RAINSCREEN DUO SLAB insulation also help reduce urban noise transfer into the hospital. Its high-density makes it extremely resistant to airflow and excellent when it comes to noise reduction and sound absorption, reducing sound energy as it passes through the material.

The £1.8m regeneration successfully corrected all the issues the hospital building had – heat loss, draughts, noise and leaks, while protecting the building from bad weather and fire. The result was a much more comfortable and energy-efficient facility that staff, patients and visitors alike could enjoy.

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A hospital to be proud of

The entire team at the hospital were delighted with the renovation.

“The fact that we were able to keep services running as normal while all this work took place is testament to the support and consideration of the contractors,” says Amanda Hardaker, Midwifery and Gynaecology Matron at Bradford Maternity. “We are so pleased with the finished job: the main difference is that we’re insulated now and fit for the future. We’ve gone from having to have extra heaters on in patients’ rooms to a really balmy temperature, so that we often don’t even need the radiators on. And most importantly it means that we can optimise outcomes for babies. The best thing for new born babies, especially ones which are underweight and more vulnerable, is that the heat service is consistent, which it absolutely is now.”


Project Data

Year 2018
Building Type Hospital

External cladding for ventilated façades

Product type RAINSCREEN DUO-SLAB and Rockpanel FS-Xtra