Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh to retest cladding following NHS-wide fire safety review
The Grenfell Tower tragedy has highlighted potential problems with particular types of cladding on high-rise buildings, sparking a review of the NHS estate
A second round of testing is being carried out on the cladding at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh (RIE) following concerns raised after the Grenfell Tower blaze in June.
NHS trusts and health boards across the UK launched probes following the tower block fire after cladding was found to be a key factor in the west London tragedy.
Following the tragic events of the Grenfell Tower fire in London 12 weeks ago, NHS Lothian, along with all NHS boards, has been undertaking a review of all its buildings’ external cladding, including risk assessments and necessary testing
And, following a number of actions by NHS Lothian, further tests have been announced for the RIE.
A statement by the health board, issued this week, says: “Following the tragic events of the Grenfell Tower fire in London 12 weeks ago, NHS Lothian, along with all NHS boards, has been undertaking a review of all its buildings’ external cladding, including risk assessments and necessary testing.
“At the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, which is a building built under the Private Finance Initiative (PFI), this testing and risk assessment has been undertaken jointly by NHS Lothian and Consort Healthcare.”
This regime has included the following:
In addition, a review of the risk assessment with key partners including Scottish Fire & Rescue and Scottish Government identified the need for interim testing of the external panelling.
NHS Lothian commissioned the University of Edinburgh to conduct tests on three samples of representative cladding from the exterior facade of the RIE.
These tests confirmed that the materials are combustible, although the panels were fully compliant with building standards at the time of the hospital’s construction.
Our risk assessments and the additional measures we have put in place give us confidence that the hospital remains safe for our patients and staff
The trust has now agreed a second phase of testing of the cladding in line with British Standard 8414. This is the testing regime recommended by the UK Government’s expert panel. The time frame for conducting these tests is estimated at six weeks.
In the interim the trust has agreed a series of measures. These include:
Tim Davison, chief executive of NHS Lothian, said: “We take all matters surrounding fire safety very seriously and I would like to reassure patients, the public and our staff that the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh has a sophisticated fire prevention system.
“Our risk assessments and the additional measures we have put in place give us confidence that the hospital remains safe for our patients and staff. This confidence is endorsed by Scottish Fire & Rescue.”