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A live panel discussion at #DesignPopUp Manchester, Hallé St Peter's

'Building The Nightingale North West'
with BDP & Friends

This live event took place on
Thursday, 09 Sept 2021 at 4.30 pm at #DesignPopUp Manchester 2021

But you have not missed out, you can catch up with the video recording on our Youtube channel or read the write-up on our blog

Project Image: The NHS Nightingale North West

Learn fascinating insights from the team that transformed a Grade II* Listed events centre into a life-saving hospital in only 14 days amidst the peak of the Covid pandemic!

Hear our panellists reveal the powerful story of how the design and construction industries collaborated to overcome truly monumental challenges for the greater good. Plus, plenty of opportunities to ask them your questions.    


On Sunday afternoon 29th March 2020, a team was assembled in Manchester Central to discuss the prospect of converting the Grade II* listed events space into a surge hospital, providing emergency care during the Covid-19 pandemic.  At this stage all the team knew was that the hospital had to be signed off by the CQC and fully operational by 12th April...just 14 days!

The next day the teams were based on site; designing, building, costing and delivering the project simultaneously in an astounding collaboration between Contractors, Architects, The British Army Royal Engineers, Project Managers, Engineers, Clinicians, Manchester Central staff and the Statutory Bodies. 

The Panel

The Panel
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Emma Lepley
Architect Associate, BDP

Emma is an Architect Associate in BDP’s Manchester Studio, predominantly working in their Healthcare team.  

Emma was the Design Team lead for the NHS Nightingale Hospital North West, an emergency hospital to support the COVID-19 response, built in Manchester Central, a Grade II* listed building.  She was on site from day 3 until handover, leading the design team in person and remotely, coordinating construction live on site with Consultants and Sub-Consultants and developing the clinical design with stakeholders, the Army, Project Managers and Procurement Managers.

Emma is passionate about designing places for people and the benefits that good architecture and design can bring to healthcare buildings whilst enhancing the staff and patient experience. She believes that listening to people and collaboration are vital in making the design and delivery process successful. 

Other recent project experience includes BDP’s Clatterbridge Cancer Centre, an 11 storey 27,000m² specialist cancer centre in Liverpool, which Emma worked on from 2014.  She has 14 years of experience in Architectural Practice.

Shaun Hinds
Chief Executive, Manchester Central

Shaun leads the team at Manchester Central in its purpose to connect people, ideas and business through meaningful experiences at live events and in the new virtual and hybrid space.

Shaun is passionate about Manchester Central's contribution to the city's economy. He ensures the venue sits at the heart of the local business community whilst maintaining its standing as a leading international convention centre.

As Vice-Chair of the Association of Event Venues (AEV) and Board Member of the Events Industry Alliance (EIA), Shaun lobbies for greater recognition for the UK events industry and its role in underpinning national economic performance.

Before joining Manchester Central, Shaun led international operations at BridgeStreet Global Hospitality and has more than 25 years of experience working across hospitality, property and business service sectors.

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John Fowler (MCIOB)
Contract Manager, Building Division - North
Vinci Construction UK

With 35 years of experience working in the construction industry, 15 of which at Vinci Construction UK Ltd, John has a wealth of insight and expertise to share. Having delivered over £300m worth of successful healthcare projects across the North West during his career, there isn't much he doesn't know about the sector, and that is why he played a vital role in the Nightingale project.


Speaking about the rapid turnaround for the NHS Nightingale Hospital NW, John proudly quips, "Rome wasn't built in a day...but we weren't on that job!"

Neil Grice
Associate Director, Archus

Neil has extensive knowledge and experience of the NHS as a senior manager with over 25 years of experience, setting up and running Public Private Partnerships (PPP), negotiation, EU Procurement and managing change in complex environments. Neil has experience as a company director on the board of several PPPs. He was the Project Director for the development of 17 Community Hubs in Merseyside. He was the Project Manager for the establishment of the HUBCo’s in Scotland, which has developed more than £2bn worth of schools and health facilities since 2010.
He was embedded in the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership (GM Devolution) as estates lead to developing and implementing their estates strategy, establishing an estates PMO, and developing and implementing programmes including Locality Asset Reviews and Masterplanning of Acute sites across GM.
Before joining Archus, Neil was the Area Director for the NHS Strategic Estates Planning Function in the NW of England, establishing Strategic Estates Groups, delivering STP Strategic Estates plans and successfully supporting the bidding process for STP capital Waves 1-4. Neil has recently helped Mid Cheshire Hospitals develop a SOC for their Leighton Hospital site and Bolton FT for their Phase 1 development of a Women’s and Maternity Unit.

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Major Matt Fry
Civil Engineer, Royal Engineers

Major Matt Fry is a professionally chartered civil engineer within the Corps of Royal Engineers. With operational experience all over the globe, ranging from Search for Explosive Ordnance Disposal to the delivery of technical infrastructure in extreme and austere conditions, he was well placed to support the NHS COVID-19 response in the delivery of the NHS Nightingale NW hospital.


Throughout his career, he has driven innovative technology and continues to be a catalyst for positive change and the promotion of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). He will complete the MSc Geospatial Intelligence course to become the first dual streamed technical qualified Royal Engineers Officer. He will focus on developing synergies between the two specialisms of infrastructure and geospatial intelligence. Based on his experience working with the NHS Nightingale NW team, he is now conducting a detailed research project to harness generative design techniques in support of rapid infrastructure development for operations. 


A live panel discussion at #DesignPopUp Manchester, Hallé St Peter's

'Building The Nightingale North West'
with BDP & Friends

Thursday, 09 September 2021 at 4.30 pm

This event is part of the 2-day exhibition at Hallé St Peter's (09 to 10 Sept).
Head over to the Manchester page for the full programme of events and to see what specification brands are exhibiting. 

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