Bringing a new hospital to life

12/1/2016 12:12 PM CET

Karolinska University Hospital's new facility in Stockholm has partly come to life, with the first patients having moved into the initial patient wing in November – right on schedule after six years of construction. Much hard work and smart thinking have gone and continue going into this project. We share insights from a few colleagues who have made this hospital possible.

One of the first patients being moved into Karolinska University Hospital's new facility in Stockholm. The new hospital will be one of the world's most sustainable university hospitals, offering the most advanced care. (Photographer Carin Tellström, Karolinska University Hospital)

Having the first patients move into Karolinska University Hospital's new facility represents a major milestone for providing patients with the most advanced care. It also demonstrates the great potential of public-private partnerships (PPP), which help advance important public projects. Skanska's consortium is responsible for financing, design and construction, and facility operations through 2040. New Karolinska Solna is one of Europe's biggest construction projects, and construction of subsequent phases will continue until 2018.

Colleagues involved with achieving New Karolinska Solna's challenging environmental targets, ensuring that the hospital is the best possible healing environment over its 30-year concession, and leveraging the diversity of the construction workforce share some insights below.

Johanna Skoog, environmental manager

What is your role on this project?
The project contract specifies that New Karolinska Solna must be certified to the "gold" standard of two environmental rating systems: LEED and Sweden's Miljöbyggnad. My role is to make sure that we succeed with those certifications by having the correct information and documentation. Also, all materials used in the hospital must be approved in Byggvarubedömningen, a building materials database. Together with the project's environmental team, I make sure that this is done correctly.

What are you most proud of?
I am really proud of the environmental team and all the hard work they have put into the project over the years. Also, I am proud of the really high environmental standards on this project. This hospital will set a new standard for green healthcare facilities.

How do you hope the community views this project?
If only people really knew how much work was behind choosing all of the materials – all materials were selected based on their environmental features, and that they will have minimal impact on human health.

This hospital has actually changed the marketplace, in terms of increasing the availability of products that are more environmentally responsible. When you start asking questions, things start to happen.

Through a public-private partnership (PPP), a Skanska consortium is responsible for financing, design and construction, and facility operations through 2040.
Through a public-private partnership (PPP), a Skanska consortium is responsible for financing, design and construction, and facility operations through 2040.

Martin Kron, operations director

What is your role on this project?
I am responsible for the operations and the service agreement, which is the contract for providing facilities services to New Karolinska Solna until 2040. That involves "hard" facilities services such as repainting walls when they need to be repainted, replacing carpets when they wear out, maintaining the heating and electrical systems – taking care of everything that Skanska has built. It also includes such "soft" services as cleaning, waste handling and logistics, which includes using automated guided vehicles (AGVs) to move meals, bedding and more around. These services are provided by Coor, the facilities management provider in Skanska’s consortium.

Should patients and staff see benefits from the PPP model?
Coor has been part of Skanska's consortium since design and construction work began in 2010. They have been part of the design, providing input to make the hospital work better. Such as extending the flooring up the walls to eliminate a joint and make it easier to clean, reducing germs and bacteria. I really hope that in the coming year we are able to see that the hospital is super satisfied with the services provided, so hospital staff can focus on providing the best care possible to patients.

How does PPP focus on the hospital's long-term needs?
Because of New Karolinska Solna's 30-year concession agreement, a focus on best meeting the hospital's needs over that entire time has been an integral part of the project from the start. This includes guaranteeing the hospital's energy use over the concession period, choosing materials meeting strict environmental requirements, and the resource-efficient ways in which Skanska built the hospital.

Also, from the design and construction process we collected a lot of fantastic building data. We will be leveraging new software to use this data to operate and maintain the hospital in really good ways.

How do you hope the community views this project?
I hope they realize what a fantastic hospital Stockholm County Council has provided them. Everyone involved in this project knows and really believes it is a fantastic project. Everyone is immensely proud to have been part of it, including me.

Shannah Calamar, contracts manager

What is your role on this project?
I am responsible for about 20 different contracts. My focus has been on the finish packages, such as cupboards, tiling and wood trim. I am also involved in Skanska's efforts to advance with diversity and inclusion.

How much diversity is there on the New Karolinska Solna project?
More than 32 nationalities have been represented in the workforce, which consisted of 2,000 workers at one point. Diversity has been one of the biggest challenges – and opportunities. To help the diverse workforce, project communications are published in both Swedish and English. And we have meetings and develop materials in other languages as needed.

How do you work to make diversity an advantage?
Monthly sessions have been held for the project management staff to discuss different aspects of diversity, and how that diversity can be leveraged to help the project. Topics have included working with different cultures, genders and backgrounds, and how to look past stereotypes to see people for who they really are.

Those sessions and the inclusive work environment have made a difference to people. When you work with so many people of different backgrounds, it changes perceptions. Part of that is learning that maybe there is more than one way to do something.

What has it been like to watch the project progress?
I have been on the project for almost six years, joining it when the main site activity was blasting rock. To watch it go from rocks being blown up three times a day to receiving the first patient has been an amazing journey. I hope the community appreciates this new hospital and takes advantage of it.

The university hospital of tomorrow

In the Projects section you can learn more about New Karolinska Solna (NKS), which is setting new standards for sustainable features and value-added delivery through a long-term public-private partnership (PPP).

How NKS’ long-term focus – done via a public-private partnership – will help the project be one of the world’s most sustainable hospitals.

Robots and much more

Automatic guided vehicles (robots), equipment tracking and modular assembles are some of the smart solutions being used at NKS.