Pioneering partnership chooses off-site construction... create innovative centre combining health and social care services

Dudley Priority Health, Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council and Norwich Union Public Private Partnership wanted to develop a centre to provide the local community in Sedgley with a ‘one-stop shop’ for a wide range of health and social services, ranging from a library to an out-of-hours GP surgery.

The Portakabin Group was brought in to the partnership to create the Ladies Walk Centre using its Portakabin Design and Build solution. This made it the first PFI project to be built using off-site construction.

The building comprises 72 steel-framed modules, which were manufactured off-site in York and delivered to Ladies Walk where they were craned into position in two stages, in line with the phased development of the site. This minimised disruption to service provision from the existing clinic and to local residents, and reduced the programme time by around 40 per cent.

“The Sedgley scheme has bridged the gap between health and social care. The building itself has given staff from each agency the unique opportunity to work more closely on the provision of integrated packages of care. The result is significantly improved services for local people.”

Julie Gunning, Head of Service Planning, Dudley Priority Health NHS Trust

One of the key factors in the choice of the PFI and construction team was the innovative design of the building. The need to move away from the traditional institutional design of health centres and social services accommodation was part of the architectural brief.

Designed by the Portakabin Group, the two-storey building incorporates the latest ideas for integrated mental health facilities from the US and Europe. It has been designed around a central ‘street’ to create a warm and welcoming environment. There is a full-height glazed entrance and a glazed roof to maximise natural light within the building.

Building Location


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