Queen Elizabeth University Hospital: Construction firm withdraws from cladding talks

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A construction firm involved in the building of Glasgow’s Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH) has withdrawn from talks about cladding following concerns over fire safety.

Multiplex has withdrawn from “without prejudice” discussions about remedial work to the cladding, according to NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde.

It comes after it emerged in March that concerns over fire retardant sheeting on cavity insulation had been raised to senior NHS figures.

Multiplex declined to comment on the issue.

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NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde board papers state: “Despite competitive dialogue, Multiplex have advised that they will no longer engage further in the ‘without prejudice’ discussions regarding remedial works to cladding in the atrium building of the QEUH.

“This scenario was a known risk and the mitigating position of a contractor directly appointed by NHSGGC is in place with progress on pre-construction activities well advanced.”

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Concerns have also been raised over fire safety at the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People in Edinburgh, with NHS Lothian undertaking urgent compliance checks to ensure the cladding on the building does not pose a risk, it was revealed last month.

Queen Elizabeth University HospitalQueen Elizabeth University Hospital
Queen Elizabeth University Hospital

NHS Lothian said any ongoing discussions with Multiplex would take place between the construction firm and the subcontractor, IHS Lothian.

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Jim Crombie, Deputy Chief Executive of NHS Lothian, said the RHCYP met fire safety regulations when it was built, and these requirements were exceeded in 2019.

The health board has told IHS Lothian to begin investigations into improvements on fire safety as a “precautionary measure” following the inquiry into the Grenfell fire, he said.

It comes as the next hearing of the Scottish Hospitals Inquiry is set to begin on May 9.

It will focus on ventilation in hospital settings, and the early planning of the RHCYP in Edinburgh.

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The inquiry, which paused in November, previously took evidence on the QEUH.

Chair of the inquiry Lord Brodie said: “It is important that the Inquiry understands the technical requirements of ventilation in hospitals, so that we can better identify what went wrong with the ventilation systems installed at the hospitals we are investigating.

"Our forthcoming hearing will explore the required ventilation standards in a hospital setting, which will undoubtedly lead us to understand the complex challenges and specific issues of the ventilation systems at the Glasgow and Edinburgh hospitals.”

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