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Project Details - Royal Liverpool University Hospital


Project Spotlight: Royal Liverpool University Hospital


NBBJ Architects, London

Project Overview

Designed to replace the existing Royal Liverpool Hospital with one of the largest and most advanced facilities in the UK, the new Royal Liverpool University Hospital will be the centrepiece of the proposed Liverpool BioCampus; a pivotal development for the North West and a key element in the regeneration of the ‘Knowledge Quarter’.

Once completed, this £329 million PFI project will boast 646 patient beds including a 40-bed Intensive Therapy Unit, 18 state-of-the-art theatres and a large clinical research facility. The hospital is not only a landmark healthcare scheme for the NHS and its PFI partners; it’s also set to become a major landmark for Liverpool, creating a prestige development that sets the tone for the regenerated Edge Lane Gateway and the university district.

Design and Materials Requirements

This high profile project required high quality external facades to communicate the prestige of the development, and create impact on approaching the building from any direction.

Shackerley’s SureClad® ceramic granite with a honed ‘travertine’ finish was specified for use on the lower levels of the building and its key elevations, contrasting with the curtain walling of the central tower. The facade panel chosen not only answers the contemporary aesthetic and performance requirements of the project; its colour and texture also reference the traditional Portland Stone so prevalent in Liverpool, particularly on the city’s UNESCO World Heritage Site waterfront.

This was one of the most complex cladding projects ever delivered by Shackerley, calling for 8282m2 of SureClad® facade in total.  Over 34,000 individual ceramic granite panels were specially cut or calibrated to an exacting schedule based on a modular design comprising 14 standard formats.


The facade system involved 22km of heavy duty cutting to create the 14 main format panels, along with hundreds of further panels cut to bespoke sizes in line with the precise dimensions of the building.

The majority of these panels were supplied as individual pieces, however, Shackerley also prefabricated more than 8,000 specially bracketed corner sections, returns and reveals as installation-ready units. 150,000 individual stainless steel undercut anchors were used to attach almost 51,000 SureClad® Access System straps and 16,500 brackets. These units required fixing in one plane only, eliminating the need for the carrier support system to be extended around window areas. The visible edges of these pieces were mitred to create neat, ‘birds mouth’ detailing.

Delivery and Installation

The system has been installed by building envelope contractor, FK Group, and the company worked closely with Shackerley to ensure that panels were delivered to site in sequence on a just-in-time basis.

Explains Chris Jones from FK group: “Shackerley’s meticulous quality control and monitoring system was critical when it came to processing a project order of this scale and complexity. Every panel in every batch was specially coded and tracked as it passed through the prefabrication process, palletisation stage and delivery to Liverpool. Each delivery was scheduled strictly in accordance with the installation programme on site, which avoided the potential for any mistakes or delays on site, speeding up installation for our team and aiding quality assurance.”

John Doran, Technical Director at Shackerley adds: “Each and every pre-fabricated SureClad® panel had to be cut and assembled with absolute precision to ensure that the system fitted together accurately on site.  The facade was like a giant jigsaw puzzle with a complex configuration of the different panel sizes fitting together in an apparently random but actually very minutely planned layout. The progress of the installation on site relied on Shackerley producing the right panels in the right sequence with total accuracy. In all, we delivered 647 pallets of SureClad® panels to the installation team, adhering very closely to a just-in-time delivery schedule.”