The Balfour, Orkney

Date Complete 2019
Location UK Scotland
Client Robertson Group
Architect Keppie Design

Project summary

The £65m Balfour Hospital provides health and social care services for the Orkney islands and, as a rural hospital, it provides a wide range of health services including an emergency department, operating theatres, GP practices and dental services, and a maternity unit and palliative care.

The hospital won the silver award in the best healthcare project category at the Partnerships Awards in London in May 2018, and Capital Project of the Year at the GO (Government Opportunities) Excellence in Public Procurement Awards 2019/20, Scotland.

Built in a challenging environment with exposure to harsh North Sea winds and other extreme weather conditions, the 16,248 m2 construction features a significant number of distinctively ‘curved’ departments arranged around a central two-storey hub.

Sandy Brown was engaged in 2015 to provide acoustic consultancy services for the project and the building is designed in accordance with the Scottish Health Technical Memorandum 08-01: Specialist acoustic services.

The building has many small adjacent departments, some of which create high noise levels and some which are sensitive to noise, so close attention was paid to the specification and detailing of all the partitions between areas to provide the appropriate level of privacy. High sound insulation was achieved where required, for example between different wards, around en-suite rooms, and between consulting rooms. Very high sound insulation was achieved to audio booths, and in other specific situations, for example where birthing rooms in the maternity ward have glazed screens overlooking the central hub area at high level.

The sound insulation of partitions was tested at an early stage during construction to give reassurance over the performance, and a full range of testing was carried out on completion to demonstrate compliance with all the acoustic the requirements.