Laing O’Rourke legal battle over Newcastle hospital PFI job

Aaron Morby 10 years ago
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Laing O’Rourke Construction is locked in a legal battle with Newcastle-upon-Tyne Hospitals NHS Trust over the final phases of a major PFI building job.

The dispute centres around two clinical office buildings for the trust, which Laing argues were completed two years ago as part of the Royal Victoria Infirmary project.

They represent the last of an eight phase building programme carried out for PFI delivery consortium Healthcare Support (Newcastle), a joint venture between Equion and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Interserve.

But the trust argues that there is insufficient daylight in some offices, toilet areas are too small and the building could suffer from overheating.

It also claims some steelwork and high level windows in two bridges connecting the offices to the main hospital buildings were not shown in the drawings.

The row over meeting specifications has delayed issuing of a completion certificate and meant the offices have been left empty for two years.

Laing O’Rourke has now won a High Court ruling that the state of the office blocks should be considered by the independent tester.

The ruling said that a tester could agree completion if any of the alleged failures did not have a materially adverse effect on the enjoyment and use of the building by the trust, leaving the trust to seek its remedy in damages.

A Laing O’Rourke spokesperson said: “As this matter is the subject of legal action there is nothing we can say at this point in time.”

A Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust spokesperson told website Chronicle Live: “Regrettably, a building – the Clinical Resource Centre, and what is intended to accommodate 860 key professional staff and is a fundamental component the phased re-development of the Royal Victoria Infirmary – does not satisfy basic standards, hence handover in mid 2012 could not happen.

“This is a PFI, therefore, the risks rest with others and not the NHS Foundation Trust.”

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