The Christie Proton Beam Therapy Centre, Manchester, exterior; The Christie Proton Beam Therapy Centre, Manchester, exterior;

The Christie Proton Beam Therapy Centre, Manchester

How do you build a cancer treatment centre that’s as sustainable as it is life-saving?

Sometimes smart thinking is a matter of making lateral connections. In our hands, a high-energy cancer therapy treatment centre will soon be powered by the very waste that it generates, helping reduce operation costs and carbon emissions.

A history of outstanding healthcare

We’ve worked on some of the highest-profile healthcare projects around the world, including California’s first LEED Silver-certified hospital, South Australia’s first public–private partnership healthcare development and Spain’s first private finance initiative hospital.

Now, we’re busy at work in Manchester, England, on the country’s largest proton beam therapy centre. At an immense 12,000 sqm, it will be one of the few specialist centres of its kind in the world, offering patients a more targeted way of destroying cancer cells.

Extraordinary innovation requires extraordinary engineering

Conventional radiotherapy uses lower energy photon radiation to destroy cancerous cells, but surrounding tissue can also be damaged. In proton therapy the beam stops once it hits cancerous cells, resulting in less damage to surrounding tissue. However, the particle accelerator is as energy-hungry as it sounds – and requires a significant amount of power to generate the high energy beam, resulting in similar levels of waste heat.

The Christie Proton Beam Therapy Centre, Manchester, exterior The Christie Proton Beam Therapy Centre, Manchester, exterior

Our multi-disciplinary teams stepped up to the challenge

The treatment centre includes three 360 degree rotating gantry rooms as well a research room, CT and MRI-imaging facilities, planning and support accommodation. We were responsible for the structural, electrical, mechanical, public health, acoustics, vibration engineering and geotechnics on the site.


A building that’s as sustainable as it is life-saving

We examined existing options and innovations around the globe to ensure best practice, and identified the value-engineering options which are so crucial in public projects. As well as creating a primary sub-station, we provided an interface with the specialist equipment providers, which helped to boost efficiency, reduce carbon emissions and lessen ongoing costs, resulting in a BREEAM “Excellent” environmental rating.

Healing and engineering working as one

The Centre was constructed on a very constrained site in a live working hospital environment. We collaborated with HKS, Inc and contractors Interserve to ensure that the 10 kilometres of conduits and one kilometre of pipework were properly installed so the healing and engineering works perfectly in tandem.

We used digital technology to shape the future

As we aim to do with all projects, we used 3D technology and BIM (Building Information Modelling) to model every aspect so we know what to build and how to build it. Because we’re able to digitally construct the future, together we can make much better decisions about every single process, both during the build and once the operations go live.


Realising the future of radiation

When it opens in 2018, the breakthrough facility will help improve cancer patient outcomes as well as reducing the impact on the planet’s health.