New hospital found to have unsafe cladding
THE ROYAL Liverpool Hospital, still under construction, has been found to have been built with non compliant cladding on its exterior walls.
BBC News reported on the findings at the Royal Liverpool Hospital in the city, which was being built by Carillion before the company collapsed earlier this year at a cost of £335m. Since the work stalled on the hospital, a recent review of fire safety and building work has found that the building, which Carillion said had complied with fire safety regulations, features combustible cladding, and will need to be replaced ‘at additional cost’, according to Royal Liverpool Hospital Trust chief executive Aiden Kehoe.
Mr Kehoe stated that Carillion’s claim that it complied with fire safety regulations was ‘not the case’, and added that the issue had only ‘recently come to light’ due to the renewed focus on fire safety and construction since the Grenfell Tower fire. A spokesman for the trust commented: ‘There has been added complexity in reaching an estimate of the costs to complete the new Royal, as a result of remedial work required to correct faults created by Carillion.
‘Before they entered into liquidation, the trust sought assurances from Carillion about this cladding and they told us that there are a number of different cladding systems utilised, all of which have been specified and installed to meet the required standards of fire safety. The recent review has found this not to be the case with some parts of the cladding.’
Mr Kehoe addressed a health committee meeting on the issue, and said that while this particular cladding was different to that used on Grenfell Tower, it would still need to be replaced by non combustible material, though he hoped that a deal could be reached ‘within the next few weeks’ to cover the costs for completing the building, which had naturally ‘escalated’.
That same committee also heard from the trust that other ‘structural defects’ left by Carillion were to see design solutions move forward, such as ‘cracks in the beams’. BBC News added that this time last year ‘the new hospital seemed within reach’, but ‘months after’ Carillion collapsed, an ‘apparent stalemate over how and when work will start again’ has meant that the site remains empty, with the cladding issue ‘the latest setback in the saga’.
It also pointed out that local MPs, including Louise Ellman for Liverpool Riverside, had ‘repeatedly demanded answers’ from the government ‘but haven’t managed to elicit any promises of financial help’, and concluded that the cladding revelation ‘will add to the cost of the rebuild, and of course yet more unwanted delays’.
Ms Ellman noted that the cladding situation could also ‘jeopardise negotiations’ with new contractors, stating: ‘I’ve been to see the health minister Stephen Barclay about it today and told him I’m increasingly concerned about the delay in completing the new Royal and he assured me the Government wants to see it finished swiftly.
‘The people of Liverpool want their new hospital and don't want to debate whose fault it was. They want something done about it. There are negotiations ongoing with potential new contractors and these additional costs could jeopardise them. The Government have to take responsibility.’