Digital edition 2021 | Innovation & Sustainability

The New Balfour Hospital

United KingdomUnited KingdomCompany Name: PFP Ltd

Project description

The Balfour is a 16,500m2, £65 million hospital created to transform health services in one of the UK’s most remote parts. With a distinct design consisting of public and private spaces, both large and small, as well as the remote location and high speed winds, there were particular acoustic challenges and unusual internal air pressure requirements. British Gypsum provided consultation and advice via its Project Specification Manager and in-house Technical Advice Centre. They created product detailing and acoustic performances, meeting the needs of each space and overcoming the effects of local atmospheric pressure. As well as creating a beautiful aesthetic to complement the sweeping curves of the building, the combination of British Gypsum products delivers excellent reverberation control. As the entire Gyptone range is supplied with Activ’Air® technology that reduces VOCs, the ceilings absorb and reduce these harmful compounds that can be associated with health problems.



PFP was established in 1997 and since then the company has grown steadily and now employs over 185 site operatives. From its base at Sighthill in Edinburgh, the business covers the whole of Scotland, providing a one stop internal fit out service for main contractors, giving them increased efficiency as the team manages co-ordination between all of its trades. Its specialist services and trades include: * Metal Stud Partitioning, Dry Lining & Steel Framing Systems * Boarded or Sprayed Fire Protection & Fire Stopping * Suspended Ceilings * Painting, Decoration & Ames Taping * Hygienic Cladding Systems

British Gypsum Gypframe® ‘C’ studs were selected to accommodate internal air pressure fluctuations, while maintaining fire and acoustic performance.
Acoustic control
For consulting rooms, GypWall® Robust was selected alongside Gypframe® AcouStud® to create highly durable, yet quiet spaces for patient privacy
Recycling certified
All the plasterboard wastes were collected and recycled using British Gypsum’s Plasterboard Recycling

Key Achievements

  • Created product detailing and acoustic performances to meet the needs of each space and overcome overall effects of local atmospheric pressure
  • Considered supply chain logistics and programming requirements to effectively procure and ship materials to the island and protect them from extreme weather
  • Through British Gypsum’s Plasterboard Recycling Service, all plasterboard waste was collected and recycled rather sent to landfill
  • Provided consultation via its Project Specification Manager and Technical Advice Centre
  • Helped ensure the ongoing performance of The Balfour through its SpecSure® warranty
  • As a testament to the planning and creation of this facility, The Balfour won silver in the best healthcare project at the Partnership Awards 2018

The mix of departments, large public spaces, and small, private consulting rooms meant acoustic design needed careful consideration. This was further exacerbated by the location where wind speeds average 25-31 miles per hour each day in winter. This strong, constant wind creates unusual internal air pressure requirements and contributed to acoustic challenges.
As Orkney is 10 miles off the coast of mainland Scotland, the project team also needed to consider supply chain logistics and programming requirements. This included procuring and shipping materials to the island and protecting them from extreme weather, plus, the contract stipulated no waste was to be left on Orkney post completion. British Gypsum used its strong pedigree in healthcare delivery and industry leading experience in technical specification to meet the project demands. Through British Gypsum’s Plasterboard Recycling Service, all plasterboard waste generated through the project was collected and recycled.


Building owner:
NHS Orkney
Keppie Design
Main contractor:
Robertson Group
Rick Gem
Saint-Gobain Team:
Steve Tait / James Girolami