SIX FIRMS from Northern Ireland have been lined up to bid for a £45 million health deal near Belfast.
Local outfits Gilbert Ash, Tracey Brothers, McLaughlin & Harvey, Farrans, Pattons and a joint venture between Graham Construction and H&J Martin are all chasing the deal.
Despite being shortlisted for the four year framework deal several months ago, the six will only pick up tenders this month.
Ulster Hospitals and Community Health and Social Services Trust will initially ask the firms to price the first part of the deal, worth around £13 million.
This phase will cover a £9 million maternity unit at Ulster Hospital in Dundonald, on the outskirts of Belfast.
A £4 million renal centre on the same site has been added on to the initial work programme since it was first advertised last October.
Future stages, estimated to be worth around £33 million, will include a critical care block and new laboratories.The later phases of the project are dependent on the availability of funding.
A winner will be chosen before Christmas with work on the first phase scheduled to start in January.