Hospital hit by Carillion collapse now six years late

A hospital in the Midlands that was being worked on by Carillion before it collapsed has suffered further delays to its opening date and will now be six years late.

The Midland Metropolitan Hospital, which Balfour Beatty took on in 2019, following Carillion’s collapse, requires a new façade to meet recently updated fire regulations, along with mechanical and engineering works.

The hospital was originally scheduled to be operational in 2018, but this has now been pushed back until spring 2024, Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust has announced.

In addition to the change of contractor, the coronavirus pandemic had caused the opening date to be pushed back, said the trust.

Trust chairman Sir David Nicholson said: “[We] are able to confirm with confidence that we will open as soon as possible, following completed construction of the building, which will be handed over to the trust before the end of 2023.

“Balfour Beatty and the trust teams have together been determined to progress the building work over the past two years, and it is excellent to see just how many of the departments and clinical areas are nearing completion to a very high standard.”

The contractor had hoped to open the site in time for the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, which will start later this summer. But the NHS trust admitted in October 2021 that it was “unlikely” to meet that target and forecast an opening date of 2023.

The delay was blamed on the material and labour shortages that have shaken the industry over the past two years.

The cost of the project has also soared, from an initial £267m to an expected £650m.

Balfour Beatty chief executive of UK construction services Mark Bullock said the contractor was “steadfast” in its ambition to complete the project.

“Over the coming months, we will continue to work closely and collaboratively with Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust, and the new hospital programme team, to deliver this long-awaited healthcare facility – one that will provide significant benefits for the local community for many generations to come,” he added.

The hospital is one of 48 health settings that the government has committed to delivering by 2030, as part of the New Hospital Programme (NHP). When it does open, the hospital will replace the A&E departments at two nearby hospitals.

Balfour Beatty did not answer Construction News’ question on the impact of the delay on project costs, but a company spokesperson said: “We continue to work closely with the trust to ensure the successful completion of this landmark project, which will deliver significant benefit to the local community for many generations to come.”

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