August 14, 2013
Industry News

Plumbing Problems For Royal Victoria’s New Addition

A new critical care unit in Belfast, carrying a price-tag of 150 million pounds, is expected to experience delays due to corrosion in the building’s hot water pipes.

Plumbing Problems Delay Royal Victoria Hospital's Critical Care Unit

The eagerly anticipated critical care unit of Belfast's Royal Victoria Hospital has faced a series of delays, pushing back its opening date to mid-to-late 2014. Originally slated for a November 2012 handover to the Belfast Health Trust, this state-of-the-art twelve-story addition now grapples with critical plumbing issues, specifically corrosion within the hot water heating system. These complications render the facility unsafe for patient occupancy until substantial repairs are executed.

Following the extensive repairs, an additional three-month period is anticipated before the Belfast Health Trust can initiate patient admissions. Ray Rafferty, UNISON Health Trade Union's spokesperson, expressed concern about the delays, emphasizing their potential impact on patient care. For the time being, the Royal Victoria Hospital's emergency department operates from a temporary facility, ensuring patients continue to receive the care they need.

While McLaughlin & Harvey, the primary construction contractor, remains mum on the exact cost of the necessary repairs, UNISON estimates the price tag to range from £2 million to £5 million. The Department of Health has assigned responsibility for these expenses squarely on the contractor. The Health Minister outlined the potential financial implications, including extra design fees and expert consultations, which might be required and subsequently recovered through contract conditions or legal action.

Moreover, both the main contractor, McLaughlin & Harvey, and the mechanical sub-contractor, Vaughn Engineering, have informed their insurance providers due to the anticipated significant cost of rectifying the situation.

The delay of the Royal Victoria Hospital's critical care unit serves as a stark reminder of the crucial role plumbing and infrastructure integrity play in healthcare facilities. In this case, early detection of corrosion and proactive repairs could have potentially averted these setbacks.


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