Our use of MMC to deliver UK facemask facility in just six months during height of pandemic

Teresa Osgood
Faithful+Gould and Atkins, members of the SNC-Lavalin Group, have helped Medicom, a world-leading manufacturer of high quality personal Protective equipment (PPE), with the rapid deployment of a facility that is now producing in excess of 1.5 million facemasks a day for frontline NHS staff.

In just six months, a multidisciplinary team from Faithful+Gould and Atkins helped Medicom turn a vacant 113,000 sq ft storage and distribution warehouse in Northampton into a fully operational and Covid-compliant manufacturing hub.

Faithful+Gould and Atkins used Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) to deliver the project to time and quality, using an off the shelf clear span steel building for the manufacturing space and a modular, composite partitioning system for all walling solutions. Atkins’ design also provided for heat recovery from Medicom’s process equipment to gain operational efficiencies and ultimately reduce costs per unit. 

Gary Smith, Building Services Regional Director at Atkins, said: “This is the kind of project our staff thrive on – technically challenging and helping our NHS. We rapidly deployed a multidisciplinary team to help Medicom repurpose their chosen facility quickly, without sacrificing the safety of their staff. We were even able to provide furniture from a local Atkins office to enable Medicom’s team to get up and running as quickly as possible.”  

The layout of the facility was particularly important as it needed to be fully Covid-compliant, and facilitate shift working, social distancing and safe flow paths in and around the building. Atkins and Faithful+Gould provided a full multidisciplinary service, including architecture, engineering, QSE and cost and project management.

Daniel Ruffe, Senior Project Manager at Faithful+Gould, said: “This was a challenging project to get up and running in the timeframe required. We brought in known supply chain partners we knew could deliver quickly and to the high quality Medicom required for this facility. It is a project that we all now look back on with pride.”

Hugues Bourgeois, Medicom Managing Director, said: “This was a fast-paced project. We knew only about 5% when we started and we figured out the rest during the journey. We have requested a number of ‘improvements’ and ‘new ideas’ along the way.  Every time the team responded positively and listened to our requests. Partnering with Atkins and Faithful+Gould for this important project was with insight, a very good decision. We have enjoyed working with them and are very pleased with the outcome.  ”

Having taken delivery of their first machines in September 2020, Medicom had successfully produced their first one million facemasks by mid-October last year, providing crucial PPE for frontline NHS staff.

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