Castleoak construction efficiency frees cash for better resident care

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Specialist care home construction company, Castleoak, says that it is transforming its business to meet the twin challenges of delivering efficiency savings to operators while creating environments that deliver the best care for residents.

Phil Andrews, partnership director for Castleoak, told Care Home Professional that his company is constantly adapting to the needs of such a specialist market. A key plank of its strategy is to standardise as much of the design, specification and build process, particularly for its timber frame care homes that are pre-fabricated close to its South Wales headquarters.

“We work very closely with operators to find efficiencies,” said Mr Andrews. “That is not just in the construction process, it is also in the design process where we consider how the design of a home can impact on how staff will work within the finished homes, and how we can optimise the environment so that residents get the best possible care.”

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Castleoak recently completed construction of 10 new care homes for Suffolk County Council in partnership with Care UK, which will operate the homes for 25 years. The £60 million contract was signed in December 2012, with construction on the first property starting in May 2013. By January this year, all 10 care homes were open – on budget and ahead of time.

Phil Andrews, Castleoak Partnership Director.

Phil Andrews, Castleoak Partnership Director.

“This was a high octane, high speed project with a lot of people on site. There were times when we had seven projects running at the same time,” Mr Andrews revealed.

Castleoak’s development team found sites for most of the homes and secured planning on all 10 homes. In parallel the company defined the designs and optimised its in-house timber frame design and manufacturing capability to create a Care UK care home template.

In total, Castleoak delivered 690 care beds in 10 homes plus 10 well being centres across Suffolk in just 36 months.

The scale of the project allowed Castleoak to secure good deals with suppliers, with savings ultimately feeding through to Care UK. “We had good procurement deals and good supply chain partners that allowed us to protect ourselves from inflations over the duration of the project. We managed to strike deals with, for example, lift suppliers, where we paid for 10 lifts and got one for free,” Mr Andrews continued.

These savings have been vital at a time when operators continue to demand greater cost control in construction so that as much money as possible can be directed into the training of staff and other operational issues that deliver the best care outcomes. “We play our part in this. As a specialist in care homes, we are constantly thinking about the impact our buildings have on how operators deliver the very best levels of care. We study all the latest research on the impact of environment on people with dementia because we know that great care is the end product that we are involved in delivering,” Mr Andrews concluded.

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