ROCKFON make a healthy contribution to BREEAM ‘excellent’ Southmead Hospital


Bristol has an impressive new hospital to replace the former Victorian buildings which started life as workhouses...

ROCKFON make a healthy contribution to BREEAM ‘excellent’ Southmead Hospital

Bristol has an impressive new hospital to replace the former Victorian buildings which started life as workhouses. The £430 million Southmead Hospital not only offers the very best healthcare facilities but is one of the most environmentally-friendly buildings of its size in the UK. The design of the building is very bright with lots of big windows and has a large glass atrium as its centrepiece. ROCKFON ceilings were specified by contractor, Carillion, because they fulfilled the design criteria and met their stringent environmental and performance requirements as Adam Stevens, Senior Design Manager explains:

“The North Bristol NHS Trust wanted to move away from the standard square grid ceiling design commonly found in hospitals. ROCKFON ceilings gave us the acoustic performance we needed; are recyclable and sustainable, and met our economies of scale.”

The hospital is fitted with Rockfon MediCare Standard and MediCare Plus ceilings throughout. The MediCare range fulfils all the essential cleaning and hygienic demands of healthcare environments and complies with the Department of Health’s HBN and HTM guidelines. MediCare ceilings do not contribute to the growth of MRSA. They have a low particle emission and have achieved the Clean Room Classification ISO Class 4 for MediCare Plus and ISO Class 5 for MediCare Standard.

ROCKFON make a healthy contribution to BREEAM ‘excellent’ Southmead Hospital

Rockfon Medicare Standard and Medicare Plus offer design freedom thanks to their exposed and concealed edges and availability in a variety of module sizes. This met with the Trust’s requirements for larger plasterboard margins to rooms and reduced the amount of standard exposed grid ceilings in the new building.

Specialist ceiling contractor, Carlton Ceilings and Partitions, installed over 110,000m² of ceiling tiles. Contract Director, Richard Janes, was impressed with the ceilings from ROCKFON and described them as, “extremely high quality and easy to install. The Trust is very happy with the finished result.”

Rockfon MediCare Standard is a 15mm thick stone wool tile which is ideal for areas such as wards, offices and consultation rooms. Its visible surface is covered with a white painted fleece which has a light reflection of 86% adding to the light, airy feel the architect wanted for the hospital.

ROCKFON make a healthy contribution to BREEAM ‘excellent’ Southmead Hospital

MediCare Standard offers best in class sound absorption (Class A) which provides the necessary noise control to help create a calm environment where patients can recover in comfort. In the consultation rooms and offices, the sound absorbent ceilings enable private conversations to take place without the distraction of unwanted sound from outside transferring through the walls.

MediCare Plus is made of a 20-25mm thick stone wool panel. It also offers Class A sound absorption. MediCare Plus has obtained a Bacteriological Class B1 and exceeds the strict hygiene and cleaning requirements for accident and emergency rooms, operating theatres, washrooms and food service areas. The visible surface of the tiles is covered with a white painted water-repellent fleece that is resistant to bacteria and mould growth and can be effectively steam cleaned. The high light reflection helps to make efficient use of available natural light and provides a uniform spread of light which is critical in operating theatres and examination rooms.

Rockfon Sonar X ceiling tiles were installed in the hospital’s canteen facility. The discrete X-edge conceals the grid completely, providing an attractive finish, yet are still fully demountable if frequent access to essential services above the ceiling is required. Sonar ceiling tiles are durable with an attractive micro-textured, matt white surface. This tough surface is easy to clean and does not absorb moisture from the air which makes it an ideal ceiling for washrooms, eating and changing areas.

ROCKFON make a healthy contribution to BREEAM ‘excellent’ Southmead Hospital

Southmead Hospital has earned an ‘excellent’ BREEAM rating and ROCKFON played its part by helping to meet targets for waste reduction. ROCKFON ceiling tiles are durable and lightweight helping to make the installation process quicker, easier and resulting in fewer damaged tiles and less waste.

Another way in which ROCKFON helped contribute to the high environmental standard is in its innovative approach to waste. All site waste including Rockwool’s insulation slabs, pipe lagging and as well as ROCKFON ceiling tiles, were sent to the Rockwool factory in Wales for upcycling into new Rockwool insulation products. Although Rockwool commonly accepts recycled waste from contractors, this was the largest and first project where multiple operating companies on one site have collaborated to create a single waste stream.

Distributor, SIG Interiors, located in Bristol, supplied both the ROCKWOOL insulation and ROCKFON ceiling products for the new hospital and contributed to the recycling programme by transporting bags of waste to the Rockwool factory.

Richard Vidler (UK Construction Development Manager) developed the processes for the take back scheme with ROCKWOOL, alongside the Logistics department from the Bristol location, offering a simple solution to Carillion by issuing bags to be collected from site whilst delivering new material. This Back Haul operation reduced the costs for transport, managed the storage of material at the Bristol depot, and delivered the waste to Rockwool Pencoed for reprocessing. Richard comments “As part of our commitment to Carillion via the SIG Supply Chain Partnership for this project, and support from our key supplier ROCKWOOL, this innovative way to reduce waste on site, and recycle products through different sub contract packages was an example of adding real value to this scheme, and as a result, reduced waste to land fill.”

ROCKWOOL processes waste products into new fibres which have exactly the same qualities as those made from new materials so there is no reduction in quality.

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Whether you are looking to create a more sustainable building or gain certification through BREEAM, ROCKFON products can help you achieve your goal. For more information visit