HSE says ‘no safety concerns’ with WBS hospital projects
Concerns have been raised about issues in schools built by Co Tyrone construction firm
Western Building Systems has constructed a psychiatric and cystic fibrosis units at Beaumont in Dublin. Photograph: Eric Luke
The Health Service Executive has said there are no safety concerns “at this time” in relation to the hospital projects built by construction company Western Building Systems (WBS).
Structural assessments are to be carried out on 40 schools built by the Co Tyrone firm under the Department of Education’s rapid-build programme, amid fire-safety and other structural concerns.
An initial review appears to show that different forms of construction are involved from those used in the school projects, the HSE said.
“However, we are carrying out a comprehensive assessment of the relevant healthcare facilities to provide complete assurance,” it added.
The HSE is expected to provide an update to the Department of Health shortly.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said on Thursday morning initial indications were that health projects built by WBS were not affected. The company has built at least 10 major units in Irish hospitals.
At Beaumont Hospital in Dublin alone, WBS has constructed a psychiatric inpatient unit, a two-storey cystic fibrosis unit and a four-storey acute medical admissions centre comprising bed wards, high-dependency units and isolation cubicles.
An MRI nuclear medical facility at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital in Crumlin was built by WBS using a “fast-track panelised build solution”, according to the firm’s website. An oncology building was constructed off-site using a modular building system.
A spokeswoman for Our Lady’s said there were “no safety concerns at this time regarding the integrity of its buildings in relation to construction works carried out by Western Buildings Systems”.
Its other Irish hospital projects include a two-storey administrative building at St James’s Hospital in Dublin and a two-storey psychiatric facility at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda.
Smaller projects include lab accommodation at St Finbarr’s Hospital in Cork and a modular building at the Royal Hospital in Donnybrook, Dublin. WBS also completed projects in the Mater and Royal Victoria hospitals in Belfast, as well as a day-surgery unit in Co Kilkenny.
Dublin City Council has said houses built for homeless families in Ballymun by WBS meet all fire safety and structural standards.
In late 2015 the firm secured the contract to build the council’s first modular or rapid-build homes for 22 families at a site in Poppintree, Ballymun.
The homes had been due for completion in December 2015, but delays, some of which were attributed to protests at the site in the last week in November, meant the homes were not ready for tenants until mid-2016.
The council has since completed four other rapid-build estates in other areas around the city, but none have been built by WBS.
“Currently, Western Building Systems is not constructing nor has any tender been awarded to Western Building Systems to construct any other homes as part of Dublin City Council’s rapid-delivery programme.”
The construction of the Ballymun estate, now known as Baile Na Laochra, was subject to “strict monitoring” and inspections, the council said.
“The 22 homes in Poppintree were constructed under the Building Control (Amended) Regulations 2014 and therefore subject to additional statutory certification requirements.”