A low secure learning disability unit at Fieldhead, Wakefield has received an official accreditation for the building’s environmental characteristics.
The BREEAM (BRE Environmental Assessment Method) accreditation has been awarded to the Newhaven unit after it demonstrated it met national benchmarks used to evaluate a building’s specification, design, construction and use.
The Newhaven unit, which is provided by South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, is a 16 bed unit providing assessment and treatment for men with a learning disability, who present with offending or challenging behaviour, of a nature which may bring them into contact with the criminal justice system.
In order to improve the standard of facilities for people from across the region who receive care at Newhaven, the unit relocated to Wakefield from Huddersfield in 2009. As part of this relocation existing premises at Fieldhead were refurbished to meet the specific needs of the service users.
When designing the refurbishment the Trust had to not only consider creating a therapeutic, high quality care environment, but also how environmentally sustainable the building was.
BREEAM is the most widely used environmental assessment method for buildings and it has been commissioned by the Department of Health as the preferred environmental assessment method for healthcare buildings. Any healthcare building work over £2million is required to undergo the assessment.
As a refurbishment project, the scheme focused on improving and upgrading the internal spaces and building services. The building was assessed against BREEAM’s 10 environmental criteria including health and wellbeing, energy, materials, innovation and pollution.
An area where the project team were able to excel was in the health and wellbeing criteria where they were able to provide evidence that they met the ‘arts in health’ assessments by having an art coordinator to encourage the installation of artwork that enhances the environment and also by providing outdoor space and seating areas. Credits were also awarded for improving the internal environment through heating, lighting and the management of noise.
Having now received the accreditation and scoring ‘very good’ Newhaven has showed that it meets key parts of the BREEAM objectives, which are to:
•Improve the sustainability of buildings and set a performance benchmark •Improve conditions for patients •Provide scope for operational savings •Better staff working conditions •Encourage community use
Pat Young, the Trust’s senior planning manager, said, "We needed to ensure that this project was not only environmentally friendly but also that it was a suitable place for people who use our services to live and staff to provide the highest quality of care. We were committed to a sustainable approach on this project because the Trust recognises its responsibility to minimise our impact on the environment and maximise our positive role within the community. It’s great to have received the accreditation for Newhaven and is another sign of the Trust’s commitment to becoming a more sustainable organisation."