In the past 12 months we have all faced challenges, things that have forced us to adapt, to think differently, to take a new approach. For multidiscipline property and construction consultancy Ridge and Partners LLP (Ridge), who this year celebrate their 75th year, their ability to do just that has been put to the test, as clients have called on them to rise to the challenge, to find solutions to difficult problems in fast-moving situations and unknown territory – addressing need caused by the impact of Covid-19.
“We have had to accelerate the pace of our work and achieve things in weeks that would usually have been expected to take years,” says Tim Leigh, who leads the Project Management team in the Ridge Oxford office. Tim and his team have been working with the University of Oxford to create a new respiratory medicine and clinical research facility. Ridge is providing project and cost management and design services and, with the onset of the pandemic, have been asked to deliver a much-accelerated programme, to enable crucial research to get underway more quickly.
Ridge was called on to transform the Exhibition and Conference Centre at the University of the West of England into the Bristol NHS Nightingale Hospital. Ridge provided mechanical and electrical design and onsite assistance for the renovation, which included the construction of 300 intensive care bays.
The project was completed within just four weeks. “As a project team, we were all working toward achieving a common goal,” explains Stephen Meigh who leads the Building Services team in the Ridge Bristol office. “We felt that it was our duty to do everything we could to make it happen.”
“As a project team, we were all working toward achieving a common goal,”
In London, Ridge has been working with UCL Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust to optimise their buildings to manage the impact of the pandemic including ensuring social distancing protocols can be adhered to, introducing Covid-secure units, installing vaccine storage facilities for vaccine trial, as well as managing the addition of modular buildings to provide additional capacity for intensive care units. The team also provided project management, cost management, building surveying and principal designer services to assist the Vaccination Programme in the London North East & Central Region. This included visiting over 20 proposed locations for feasibility assessment for patient flows and security, design, tender and construction. Each site was completed within just 3 weeks from inception to completion.
Ridge has also supported the vital work undertaken within the pharma sector in vaccine research, including with Oxford BioMedica who have partnered with AstraZeneca in the production of the Covid vaccine. Ridge has provided project and cost management and mechanical and electrical engineering services for the new viral research and manufacturing facility that now produces the Oxford Covid vaccine.
More recently, the impact of Covid restrictions has also tested the capability of the Ridge teams. Working for a large client with sites across the UK, Ridge has been tasked with assessing all sites for compliance in relation to air ventilation, to ensure the safety and security of their staff. “Many of our clients are having to adapt in the light of the impact of Covid. We are being asked to support clients to future proof their workspaces, to meet new guidance, but most importantly to protect the health and wellbeing of employees,” says Alex Hall, building services lead in the Ridge Birmingham office.
Adrian O’Hickey, Senior Partner at Ridge, concludes: “The support that our clients have called on us to provide during this time has been broad – not only in delivering the quality services within the specific disciplines for which we are well known, but in the way we have been asked to adapt, to think differently, to go above and beyond in the face of very challenging situations and unknown risk. I am very proud of every member of the team for the part they have played in rising to the challenge.”