Zentia ceilings help transform industrial units into Covid laboratories

Bioguard ceiling tiles by Zentia featured at the Integrated Covid Hub North East.

Ceiling systems by Zentia helped transform a pair of empty industrial units into a state of the art Covid test laboratory in super quick time.

Zentia’s square-edged Bioguard Acoustic tiles and non-corrosive grid were installed by two specialist sub-contractors for main contractor Robertson Construction in the Integrated Covid Hub North East in Gateshead where Zentia’s production facilities and head office are also located.

The Bioguard system, which performs to sound absorption Class C, was specified for the £17 million refurbishment by Ryder Architecture, who have used Zentia systems many times before for healthcare projects.

Their brief from client Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust was to reconfigure the existing open plan industrial units into an integrated Covid sample testing laboratory within a very short timescale. The overall build started in August 2020 and was complete by February 2022, but the ceilings had to be installed in just a couple of weeks.

Most of the 5,000m2 of Zentia systems were installed in the larger unit by Gateshead-based RSI Interiors in probably their fastest installation ever.

RSI Interiors’ managing director George Rowan explained they got the call from Robertson Construction in late September 2020 and were asked if they could they deliver in 10 days’ time, for completion by Christmas.

RSI, headed up by project manager Mervyn Hogg and site manager Sam Rowan recruited 70 men – 40 on day shifts and 30 on nights, seven days a week – and they finished on December 23rd.

George said: “It was a very challenging project because of the short timescale due to the delivery of £60 million worth of lab testing equipment which could not be delayed.

“But we are really familiar with Zentia products and have a lot of respect for their salesperson whom we have dealt with for years and years. The client wanted a product that would be suitable for a laboratory environment. There were other options, but we contacted Zentia because we trust what they say. We just wanted to make sure we had good products and there weren’t going to be problems later.”

High Level Contracts, based in Cramlington, Northumberland, installed an additional 695m2 in the smaller unit.

HLC director Helen Jeavans said: “It was very difficult working around the clock and with all other trades pushing for completion but the Zentia products performed as required. We have always preferred Zentia. They have always been a helpful company to work with, have been around since the beginning, and are usually specified.”

George Rowan added that Robertson, led by project manager Paul Reed, delivered the project under budget.