Settlement reached in court battle over hospital construction defects

By Jo Makosinski | Published: 7-Dec-2022

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and Lendlease agree out-of-court settlement over problems with the £95m emergency care hospital project

An NHS trust and contractor have settled a long-running court case over a range of defects discovered during construction of a flagship new hospital.

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has been embroiled in a multi-million-pound legal case against contractor, Lendlease, over the construction of the £95m Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital, which opened in Cramlington in 2015.

But this week it was announced the parties had settled the case just days before it was due to be decided in court.

While the settlement amount agreed remains confidential, the trust had initially sought more than £140m, claiming that £70m was needed to build a temporary structure in order to decant services while wide-ranging remedial work took place to fix issues in the main building.

Previous rulings also involved Lendlease’s sub-contractors including Balfour Beatty Kirkpatrick, Horbury, MPB, Iko, Keppie, and Briggs Amasco.

Following confirmation of the settlement, the trust and Lendlease issued the same statement, saying: “Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and Lendlease can confirm that a settlement has been reached in respect of its ongoing litigation with Lendlease, which was due to be heard in court starting on 26 October.

“The terms of the settlement remain confidential, but the trust can confirm that the settlement allows it to ensure the continued ongoing safety for patients, staff, and visitors of Northumbria Emergency Specialist Care Hospital.”

The ‘defects’ identified ranged from fire safety issues ‘including fire-stopping, fire dampers, fire doors, smoke clearance, smoke curtains, and use of lifts for evacuation’, issues with the ‘fire-rating’ of door frames, and the ‘fire resistance’ of external walls.

However, it is understood that work to fix the fire safety issues and ensure public safety took place prior to action being taken.

Other issues related to flooring, external walls, the hospital roof, pipework, the drainage system, M&E, landscaping, and the hospital's helipad

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