Fire Safety Failure – NHS Hospital Builder Forgot Fire Risk
University Hospital Coventry opened just a decade ago but will now need
2 years of round-the-clock renovations to make it fire-safe.
Urgent safety works have begun at the £380 million PFI hospital after inspectors found it was built without fire protection or fire safety in mind.
The 1250 bed unit is the country’s most expensive Private Finance Initiative project and 3 other PFI hospitals are also having emergency fire-proofing works including Kings Mill, Royal Derby and Walsall.
Swedish construction firm Skanska declined to comment about fire safety compliance failures at the hospitals, but with remedial works at all 4 sites set to cost an estimated £47 million to fix it is clear that this is no small oversight.
West Midlands Fire and Rescue said it had worked with the hospital to create an action plan for upgrading fire standards. But a source told a national newspaper “If this was any building other than a hospital it would have been closed down. Fire protection is there to stop fire spreading, to give rescue teams time to get the patients out, but they have no chance in hell. These PFI hospitals are a major disaster waiting to happen”.
There are fears over safety standards at all PFI hospitals after fire officials found others in Hereford, Peterborough and Carlisle were also built without fire-proofing and there was nothing to stop fire rampaging through walls and ceilings.