Year delay for £335m Royal Liverpool University Hospital

The opening of the £335m Royal Liverpool University Hospital has been put back to summer 2018, a year later than originally planned, due to construction delays.

A statement from the Royal Liverpool & Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust said that “there was never an official opening date”, but states that the original date for when contractor Carillion would hand over the hospital was March 2017, with a move-in completion targeted for July 2017.

The Trust said it is now expecting Carillion to hand over the building at the end of February 2018, after the completion has been confirmed by an independent tester.

There will then be a 20-week commissioning period, where the hospital is fitted with various equipment. The plan is for the move to be completed 14 weeks from the handover date, so the Trust is aiming for an opening in summer 2018.

The new hospital is set to include 646 single bedrooms with en-suites, 23 wards, 18 operating theatres, a large clinical research facility and a 40-bed critical care unit, alongside one of the biggest emergency departments in the North West.

The project has experienced delays, attributed to the complexity of the construction process and poor weather. Earlier this year development was paused after cracks were found in two concrete transfer beams.

A Carillion spokesperson said: “The construction of such a building on a brownfield city centre location is a very complex process and we have encountered some issues which have unfortunately led to a delay in the handover date to the Trust. As has been previously reported, there was asbestos on the site of the new hospital. The amount of asbestos found was significantly more extensive than initially thought and therefore took much longer to remove.

“As has also been reported, during routine checks on the new building, cracks were found above a small number of beams and remedial work was required, which has now been completed.

“Extended periods of poor weather throughout the build have also resulted in delays to the programme.

“We continue to work closely with the Trust to ensure that we handover the building as soon as possible in order for the transition into the new hospital to start.”

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Interesting but confirms what most people suspect was the case. He loves and excels in closing deals and operating with influential businessmen and government officials.

But he clearly viewed planning not as a balance of social, economic and environmental interests but as an impediment to drawing in private investment and a barrier that must be circumvented. Some of the biggest property developments as well as the more hum drum ones throughout the city have this philosophy stamped all over them.

This philosophy has consequences. Unfortunately too many people who have the choice seem to have little desire to stay here long term which is due in no small part to the oppressive nature of the environment in places, a lack of diversity in services and amenities (public and private) and the consequent lack of oppprtunity to forge meaningful connections with other people. Not everything can be boiled down to “an investment proposition”, there is a bigger picture here.

Manchester is a truly great city with a globally significant history. But it is competing against places at home and abroad with better climate or with different development paths which allowed their cities to be laid out in more civilised lines.

Bernstein has done a top drawer job in helping to turn around perceptions of a city mired in the post industrial doldrums. We now need an approach that puts the needs of citizens front and centre in the development stakes.

We also need to exploit to the maximum that which makes us distinctive, our scientific, commercial, and industrial heritage rather than obliterate it to create a clear development plot.

We need to understand what people value rather than what impatient development finance values and work from there.

Bernstein undoubtedly achieved so much for Manchester as evidenced by all the cranes on the horizon. As the city fills out those remaining blighted empty plots within the inner ring road, the time seems right to hand over to someone else and forge a slightly different approach for the next phase of the city’s development, building on what he achieved.

By Anon

Despite what people may think the delays to construction projects don’t really come from it being “complex” or “on a brownfield site” or “asbestos issues” or from “poor weather”. While they undoubtedly contribute to programme delays, the real problem comes from poor quality main contractor project managers in the UK construction industry.

90% of them are site managers who are doing the project manager role, and they do not understand project delivery.

By John S