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Armstrong Ceilings prove just the tonic for patients and the environment in Glasgow

Armstrong implements its widest selection of ceilings systems and off-cut recycling in a single project at the new Queen Elizabeth University Hospital

In association with
100mm Axiom Profile coupled with a bespoke 225mm Axiom Profile riveted together to create a 325mm bulkhead
100mm Axiom Profile coupled with a bespoke 225mm Axiom Profile riveted together to create a 325mm bulkhead

The newly renamed and opened Queen Elizabeth University Hospital Glasgow is a benchmark project for many reasons. Officially opened by Her Majesty the Queen on 3 July, one reason is its size – being the largest hospital building project in Europe - and another is its bold and exciting design. Designed by specialist healthcare architects IBI Group (formerly Nightingale Associates) for client NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde, the new building is colourful and brave in its use of internal “floating” cantilevered pods, among other elements.

First impressions aside, the scheme is equally ground-breaking behind-the-scenes. It is Armstrong Ceiling’s largest off-cut recycling project to date; with more than 10,000m2 or 35 tonnes of mineral ceiling tile off-cuts diverted from landfill. The hospital’s main contractor Brookfield Multiplex had previously worked with Armstrong to recycle 8,000m2 or 32 tonnes of Bioguard Plain ceiling tile off-cuts at Peterborough City Hospital.

The Queen Elizabeth University Hospital Glasgow is also a benchmark as the project containing the widest selection of elements from Armstrong Ceilings’ service and systems portfolio – not only tiles for acoustic and healthcare purposes, but a variety of suspension and Dry Wall Grid systems with bespoke Axiom perimeter solutions. All the products are backed by the company’s industry-leading 30-year systems warranty.

Home to major specialised services such as renal medicine, transplantation and vascular surgery, the new publicly-funded 170,000m2 hospital gives Glasgow one of the most advanced adult acute services in the UK and is the biggest critical care complex in Scotland.

The development is located on the site of the former Southern General Hospital and took five years to build. The combined adult and children’s hospitals are expected to treat 750,000 patients every year, including 110,000 A&E patients. It has one of the biggest emergency departments in Scotland, 30 state-of-the-art operating theatres and a dedicated laboratory block. The development is divided into two elements – the larger 1109-bed adult hospital in single-room accommodation and the adjoining smaller 256-bed children’s hospital. The adult building’s three-storey podium houses operating theatres, diagnostic, outpatient, ambulatory care and emergency facilities as well as an atrium with retail and restaurant units, while the eight-storey tower rising above has a helicopter landing pad on the roof. Patient rooms overlook landscaped gardens to help promote a sense of well-being.


  • Armstrong Drywall Grid System
    Armstrong Drywall Grid System
  • Armstrong 600 x 1200 Bioguard Acoustic Board on Prelude 24mm Grid with Axiom Plasterboard to Tile Transition
    Armstrong 600 x 1200 Bioguard Acoustic Board on Prelude 24mm Grid with Axiom Plasterboard to Tile Transition

Such was the size of the project that it required two members of Armstrong’s Green Omega network of specialist sub-contractors specially recognised for their recycling expertise - Roskel Contracts and PFP.

The project was particularly noteworthy for Roskel Contracts, who installed the first, laboratory phase - 30,000m2 of Armstrong’s lifetime-guaranteed Dune Supreme Tegular mineral tiles on a Prelude 24mm grid – becoming the first Green Omega member in Scotland.

Armstrong worked with Roskel Contracts to create 800m2 of exemplar mock-up areas of two sizes (600mm x 600mm and 1200mm x 600mm) of the square-edged Bioguard Acoustic tiles, which combine good sound absorption and attenuation to ISO 5 levels with antimicrobial properties.

PFP then had a team of up to 60 men on site for two and a half years, installing 110,000m2 of Armstrong’s Bioguard Acoustic mineral tiles and a variety of wall-to-wall suspension and transition systems.

The 140,000m2 of Armstrong wall-to-wall ceiling systems used at the new hospital also include the pre-engineered aluminium perimeter solutions Axiom transitions, profiles and accessories.

In the brightly coloured internal cantilevered pods - the most jaw-dropping element of the project - a 100mm Axiom profile was coupled with a bespoke 225mm Axiom profile and riveted together to create a 325mm bulkhead/upstand at a custom length of 3.6m.

This particular method took just 25% of the installation time compared to traditional plastering methods, prompting PFP to remark that this Armstrong system represented the next generation of building products.

A variety of Armstrong suspension systems were also used on the project, including 70,000 linear metres of the Drywall Grid System for use with plasterboard ceilings (including curved DGS around the nurses’ stations in the wards), 12,000 linear metres of Axiom plasterboard-to-tile transition trims in corridors leading off a central atrium, 10,000 linear metres of Axiom profiles (which help with ceiling level changes, floating ceiling construction and lighting integration) and 40,000 accessories (connecting brackets, clips, hanging brackets).

  • 600 x 1200 Armstrong Bioguard Acoustic Board Tiles with Axiom Plasterboard to Tile Transition
    600 x 1200 Armstrong Bioguard Acoustic Board Tiles with Axiom Plasterboard to Tile Transition
  • Curved Drywall Grid System around the nurses station
    Curved Drywall Grid System around the nurses station
  • Armstrong 600 x 600 Bioguard Acoustic Board tile on Prelude 24mm Grid
    Armstrong 600 x 600 Bioguard Acoustic Board tile on Prelude 24mm Grid

Along with the Armstrong Prelude standard and non-corrosive exposed grids, which combine exceptional stability with installation ease, all of these systems were installed by PFP a year before tiling to minimise damage to services in the ceiling void.

Senior quantity surveyor (construction) for Brookfield Multiplex James Bailey said the Armstrong wall-to-wall ceiling systems specified by the architects had met all the required Scottish Health Technical Memorandum (SHTMs) and were a “suitable product range for a major hospital”.

He also added: “Armstrong’s commitment to recycling damaged tiles and off-cuts was a key factor in their selection for this project.”

The off-cuts from the ceiling tiles supplied by the Glasgow branch of distributor CCF were collected in one-tonne bags supplied by Armstrong. These were then gathered in an on-site holding area by on-site waste management company Skipeez until there were enough (20 bags on pallets) for an Armstrong truck to collect them and transport them back to the factory in Gateshead.

PFP’s Gary Mortimer said: “The sheer size and complexity of this project could have made it an extremely challenging, but the recycling element, particularly with Skipeez on board, went very smoothly.

“We had never used such a variety of Armstrong systems before on one project, but thanks to the level of support we received from its local sales and technical teams as well as the distributor, we delivered a project we are very proud of.”

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