Lendlease sued for £140m over ‘defective’ NHS hospital

Lendlease is facing claims by Northumbria NHS Trust that the emergency hospital it built has multiple fire-safety defects, external wall weaknesses, and mechanical and electrical services (M&E) problems.

Balfour Beatty’s M&E arm, Balfour Beatty Kilpatrick, is one of six other construction firms involved in the dispute over the Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital.

Lendlease appointed Kilpatrick to deliver M&E works to the site in Cramlington. In total, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Trust is suing for £140m in liabilities.

The NHS trust alleged that so much remedial work was needed to sort out the building’s defects that it had to construct a four-storey building where it could temporarily move while the work was taking place. A total of £73m of the £140m pot claimed by the trust relates to the construction of that building.

Lendlease faces accusations that there are defects to fire-protection facilities at the site, external wall defects linked to fire resistance and structural stability, and roof defects. The NHS trust also detailed defects regarding the drainage system, the M&E work and flooring, besides pipework issues.

Lendlease is attempting to pass on liability for the defects to eight separate subcontractors, including Balfour Beatty Kilpatrick. Kilpatrick faces liabilities around passive fire-protection defects, including fire doors and fire-stopping, and the external wall defects.

The defendants have already agreed settlements either in writing or in principle surrounding the defects in the roof, pipework and M&E works.

Lendlease was appointed to deliver the hospital in July 2014, on a £70m contract.

Justice O’Farrell of the Technology and Construction Court yesterday set a start date for the High Court hearing of 24 October. It was delayed for a third time to give expert witnesses time to inspect the building and report back to the court. The trial is expected to last 10 weeks.

Construction News approached Northumbria Healthcare NHS Trust, Lendlease and Balfour Beatty for comment.

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