Snapshot: Ireland’s premier kids hospital is 71% finished

Cost estimates for the new children’s hospital have risen from an initial €600m-plus to more than €1bn (National Paediatric Hospital Development Board via Twitter)
The most significant healthcare project ever undertaken in Ireland, Dublin’s yet-to-be-named ‘new children’s hospital’ (NCH), is now 71% complete, its developer has said, releasing the latest images.

A government priority project, NCH will serve 25% of Ireland’s population by consolidating three children’s hospitals at the 12-acre St James’s campus, becoming the country’s primary centre for paediatric education, training and research.

It will have 22 operating theatres and 6,150 rooms, 380 of which will be individual in-patient rooms with beds for visiting parents.

BAM Building Ltd, the Irish subsidiary of the Netherlands’ Royal BAM Group, acquired the €600m-plus contract to build the seven-storey in 2017, at which time work was expected to take four years.

Its cost has risen steeply since then. In 2018, the approved budget was €1.43bn, and in April this year Irish health minister Stephen Donnelly said total programme costs had risen to €1.73bn.

By the end of last year, some 99% of all concrete had been placed and the concrete frame was finished in March 2021, NCH’s developer since 2013, the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board (NPHDB), says.

NPHDB uses Olympic swimming pools, Boeing jets and football pitches to describe material quantities.

As the project entered 2022, some 150,000 cubic metres of concrete had been poured in the three previous years, enough to fill 60 Olympic swimming pools.

Approximately 2,300 tonnes of steel have been erected, the equivalent of 12 Boeing 747 jets, while 10,800 sq m of installed glazing is enough to cover two football pitches.

The site has been awarded a BREEAM Excellent design rating. “We are one of only a small number of hospitals in the world to have achieved this rating for sustainability,” said the NPHDB.

“It’s exciting to see that the most advanced areas of the build have floors, walls, ceilings & joinery such as nurse stations installed,” the hospital tweeted at the end of July. “The ICU pendants, which hold all the medical equipment & bathroom fittings are also being installed.”

One of the remaining challenges is finding a name. It was going to be called “Phoenix Children’s Health” but the developer dropped this name in 2018 after Phoenix Children’s Hospital in Arizona wrote to Ireland’s health minister threatening legal action if the name was used.

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