LOCAL contractor McLaughlin & Harvey has beaten three other firms to grab a £50 million deal to build a hospital in Northern Ireland.
The company has been chosen as preferred contractor for a deal that will involve the development of acute facilities for the Down Lisburn HSS Trust in County Down. The main part of the contract will involve building the New Downe Hospital in Downpatrick.
McLaughlin & Harvey was selected by the trust ahead of competing Irish firms Farrans, Henry Brothers and a joint venture between John Graham and H&J Martin after a four-week delay to allow extra time to work up bids.
The trust had planned to shortlist five firms but Gilbert Ash pulled out before bids went in.
Several specialists are being recruited for the preparation work, including an interior designer, architect, M&E engineer, structural engineer, civil engineer and landscape designer. A specialist nurse is also being recruited by the project team to make sure the design and initial construction phase meets employees' standards.
One of the shortlisted bidders said: 'Things work a little differently in a deal like this, compared with a normal PFI contract or a normal tender. Now the client has chosen a winner, the pair will thrash out the design over the next few months.
'Once the design is ready the trust will ask an independent assessor to decide on a fair price. The trust will then take that price to McLaughlin & Harvey and ask them if they can do it for that much. If they can, then it will be wrapped up within maybe four or five months.
'But we all hang around just in case the price is too low for McLaughlin. In that case the client will ask the reserve contactor, which it keeps secret, to step in. If that firm can't do it then the trust will take the deal back to the market.' The trust hopes to get work started on site in July and the job is expected to take around fou r years to complete.