Board of national children’s hospital accuses builder of ‘aggressiveness’

Concerns have also been raised about the number of health and safety incidents on the site

The site of the national children’s hospital at the St James’s Hospital campus in Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

The site of the national children’s hospital at the St James’s Hospital campus in Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

 

The board of the new €1.4 billion national children’s hospital has accused the builder of the project of “aggressiveness”, and has raised concerns about the number of health and safety incidents on the site.

According to minutes of a meeting held in July, members of the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board also raised concerns about “a significant increase” in financial claims being made by contractors at the Dublin site.

At a meeting of the Oireachtas committee on health this week, HSE chief executive Paul Reid said he was aware of extra claims being made in relation to the project on the St James’s Hospital campus, but did not yet have an idea of the scale of the potential cost.

In the minutes of the meeting board members discussed what actions might be necessary in response to “aggressiveness” by the lead builder Bam.

“A significant increase in the frequency of claim notifications in the preceding month was highlighted, and that Bam were seeking to apportion blame for the current delay with the employer’s team.”

An industry source told The Irish Times that Bam had to submit a large number of extra claims within a certain period due to emerging issues during the build of the hospital.

The minutes reveal that a revised project plan is to be submitted by Bam “in order for a detailed cashflow programme to be prepared by the executive and submitted to the HSE”.

Satellite centre

The board also expressed concern about the “high volume of health and safety incidents on site”, although it noted there were no such incidents in June.

Issues with the new urgent care satellite centre which recently opened at Connolly Hospital Blanchardstown were also flagged.

“It was confirmed that the level of disappointment with the quality standard of certain finishes at Connolly on handover had been formally communicated to the design team. The board was updated that remedial works had been completed since then, and that the quality had significantly improved.”

Under current timelines the build at the children’s hospital is scheduled to be completed in the third quarter of 2022, according to the HSE, and the hospital will open in April 2023 after a period of commissioning. However, the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board said the development of a revised timeline for the project was ongoing.