Carillion started work on site in Smethwick in January 2016 under a private finance initiative contract and was supposed to complete in October 2018.
In January 2018, Carillion went into liquidation. When Balfour Beatty took over in 2019 it was thought that the new contractor would be able to get everything fixed and finished by 2021, then it was 2022.
In October 2021 the hospital trust said that the 2022 opening date was in jeopardy because of Covid-related shortages of material and labour. The building programme has also been revised to accommodate a new external façade in light of new fire safety regulations.
Now it will be the end of 2023 before construction is expected to finish and the hospital opening date is put at spring 2024, a full six years late.
The £650m hospital brings together emergency and acute services at Sandwell General Hospital and City Hospital into a single healthcare facility, operated by Sandwell & West Birmingham NHS Trust.
Trust chairman Sir David Nicholson said: “I am delighted that we have reached this stage in the development and are able to confirm with confidence that we will open as soon as possible following completed construction of the building, which will be handed over to the Trust before the end of 2023.
“Balfour Beatty and the Trust teams have together been determined to progress the building work over the past two years and it is excellent to see just how many of the departments and clinical areas are nearing completion, to a very high standard.
“We are grateful to the new hospital programme team for their support in ensuring we have the resources and expert advice to complete this new hospital, that will serve the Sandwell and West Birmingham populations for at least 50 years. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to deliver a great facility and improve health outcomes with the added benefits of regeneration for our local communities.”
Balfour Beatty has continued to work throughout the pandemic and currently has more than 800 people on site each day and said that it was determined to complete the job and not just walk away in despair.
Mark Bullock, chief executive of Balfour Beatty’s UK Construction Services business, said: “We remain steadfast in our commitment to successfully completing this landmark project. Over the coming months, we will continue to work closely and collaboratively with Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust and the new hospital programme team, to deliver this long-awaited healthcare facility; one that will provide significant benefits for the local community for many generations to come.”