King’s College Hospital, London faces delays to the development of the world’s largest critical care centre after major fire safety concerns were uncovered during an inspection. The Trust’s technical team found flaws during the final stage of the commissioning process, and state the concerns relate to ‘fire stopping’.

Fire stopping refers to the sealing of any openings to prevent fire (including smoke and heat) from passing through multiple building compartments. The spread of a fire is contained by creating fire resisting compartments, which subdivide the building (vertically or horizontally). Buildings must ensure that any openings and gaps are fire stopped to restrict both lateral and vertical fire spread[1].

A spokesperson for the Trust said: “The safety of patients, visitors and staff is paramount. Before the unit can be opened, significant remedial work is required”.

The safety flaw means that the building firm responsible will have to deliver a programme of “significant remedial work” over the next four weeks to make the building safe.

The centre was due to open in summer 2018 but the hospital’s managing body has now said that it cannot give a time-frame for the building’s opening. The programme of remedial work will be subject to a review by the design team at King’s College Hospital before the building is allowed to open.

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