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Laing O'Rourke handed 2020 Royal Liverpool target

The NHS trust managing the Royal Liverpool Hospital has said the scheme is expected to open by the end of 2020.

The project, which had suffered months of uncertainty following the collapse of Carillion in January, was taken into public control in September and is being delivered directly by the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen NHS Trust.

According to the trust, main contractor Laing O’Rourke will provide a detailed construction programme in the new year. The trust states that this “will set out a timescale for handover towards the end of 2020”.

Laing O’Rourke has been on site since mid-November alongside architect NBBJ and structural engineer Arup to carry out building surveys of the hospital.

When complete, the new 646-bed hospital will have 18 operating theatres and one of the largest accident and emergency departments in the North-west.

Early works will begin in December and last around four months.

During this time, Laing O’Rourke is expected to begin remedial work on the hospital’s ventilation system. 

Work will also be undertaken in this phase to gain access to areas of the structure requiring remedial works identified in Arup’s structural review of the project.

In a summary drawn up in advance of a trust board meeting on 27 November, the hospital said it had drafted in Mace to help the hospital manage the construction. 

It said: “The agreement with Laing O’Rourke is such that they will have a very different set of responsibilities to those carried out by Carillion.

“Laing O’Rourke was not prepared to take any risk on either construction cost or timetable to complete – these risks sit with the trust. We will manage this through Mace and the in-house project team.”

The trust has also taken steps to avoid a repeat of the situation that saw the entire project stopped while negotiations were undertaken with the financial backers for the PFI deal.

The hiatus meant the scheme was delayed for months.

The summary notes that the trust will make payments directly to Laing O’Rourke’s subcontractors.

“One key safeguard going forward is that the trust will make payments to Laing O’Rourke’s subcontractors directly,” the summary said.

“This means that should the same situation befall Laing O’Rourke as it did Carillion, then the trust would look to appoint a new contract manager.

“Subcontractors would continue to work and get paid as normal. Whilst some delay may be inevitable, the subcontractors would be kept whole and there would be no risk to the project being completed.”

The trust’s chief executive Aidan Kehoe said: “After such a challenging and turbulent time over the last 11 months, we are glad to see work begin on the site and we are looking forward to the new year with fresh optimism.

“With Laing O’Rourke and others in place, and more contractors to follow in the coming months and work returning to the site, our staff are now refocusing their attention on our plans for moving in.

“We can all look forward to getting into the new Royal and seeing our aspirations for providing world-class facilities and a platform for a global life sciences hub to the people of Liverpool come to life.”

Laing O’Rourke project director Andy Thomson added: “The team is now mobilising with important early work already under way. The pace of delivery will grow in the new year and all involved are energised and committed to completing the new Royal for the people of Liverpool.

“Having led the new Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, I feel personally invested in Liverpool and proud to be leading completion of the new Royal; and with colleagues next door currently on site at Clatterbridge, Laing O’Rourke is hugely proud to be playing its part in delivering facilities that will help improve healthcare across Merseyside.”

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