An Office Scheme Constructed in Less Than Five Months

A four-storey scheme for office support staff at the University Hospital Southampton was required to create space for further development and expansion, to the benefit of the local community.

The new building was required to provide purposed-designed, permanent business support offices and meeting space for around 85 staff from the Medical Physics and Dietetics teams who were relocating from outdated temporary facilities. This accommodation could then be demolished to allow construction work to start on a new seven-storey car park. The upper two floors of the office scheme would provide additional space for the Trust’s future expansion without any further impact on the hospital site.

Portakabin was appointed as design and build contractor for the project. After less than five months on site, the £2 million, 1,300m2 facility was constructed using an off-site solution and handed over on time.

The site is in the centre of the hospital and was extremely constrained, fronting a busy road and next to a number of clinical buildings. Fast completion was essential so work could be started on the car park development as soon as possible.

Portakabin had to undertake complex logistics and meticulous planning throughout to manage traffic flows and maintain access at all times for bus and ambulance routes and for around 800 deliveries each day along the road immediately adjacent to the site.

Because of the severely restricted working area, the Portakabin Design and Build modules were craned into position around 70 per cent fitted out, with partitions, plumbing and electrics pre-installed in the factory to further reduce work on site.

“The restricted time to build this scheme was the key driver for modular construction. Site-based building methods could not have delivered the building in the timeframe we had, and were not feasible on such a tight site. The space for the new facility was extremely limited and so lent itself well to moving as much of the construction into the factory as possible.”

“The use of a Portakabin Design and Build solution also resulted in much less disruption because most of the fitting out was done off site and we were able to maintain access 24/7.”

Neil Haskell, Senior Project Manager, University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust


“This scheme was on the critical path for a wider project and so was very programme driven. We needed to have the new offices fully operational as soon as possible for the relocation of staff from various departments. Portakabin delivered the building on time, met all the requirements for functionality and layout, and in an extremely tight timescale. This allowed us to progress other essential development works for the hospital, to the benefit of patients and staff.”

“We have been very impressed with the Portakabin team throughout. They provided the full range of construction services, including design, ground works and fitting out. We would certainly recommend Portakabin Design and Build off-site solutions and the services and approach from Portakabin, to others.”

Ben Gwilliam, Development Manager, Interserve Prime

Portakabin worked on the project with Interserve Prime, which is in a joint venture Commercial Estates Development Partnership with the Trust to develop a programme of new hospital facilities.

Building Location


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