Tests on cladding at hospital

Ben Fox
Ben Fox

Grenfell Tower constructors involved in construction of Newton Abbot Hospital

Fire safety tests have been undertaken on the cladding used in the construction of Newton Abbot Community Hospital, The Moorlander has been told.

The tests follow the Grenfell Tower fire on the 14th of June in which it is expected that at least 80 people were killed.

According to the Financial Times, the Rydon Group led the refurbishment of Grenfell in north Keningston during 2015-16, which involved installing external cladding.

Newton Abbot Hospital was developed by the same group under a Private Finance Initiative (PFI) contract, secured in July 2006 by the health and social care division of the group, Ryhurst.

Under the terms of the PFI, Rydon Maintenance continues to provide Hard Facilities Management services to maintain the hospital over the 25 year contract period.

Although it is not yet officially clear how the blaze at Grenfell spread so catastrophically, suspicions have fallen on the flammable cladding.

Since the fire at Grenfell, NHS Improvement (NHSI) has asked Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust to undertake a pro forma detailing any cladding across the Trust – in which some were found on the external faces of Newton Abbot Hospital.

The Trust found that all cladding is as the original build, none having been retro fitted, there were no panels the same as that used in Grenfell Tower in situ anywhere in the Trust, and that the cladding was compliant with health technical and building notes.

However, NHSI is seeking further assurance on the safety of the cladding on NHS buildings, including Newton Abbot Hospital, and have asked for external expert assessment of cladding in inpatient areas over 2 storeys which requires the removal and testing of some cladding panels by the British Research Establishment (BRE).

There is a risk that some panels on some of the Trust’s buildings may fail the enhanced BRE test due to their age. However, the Director of Estates and Commercial Development confirmed that the Trust did not yet have any reason for concern.