Claim is for damaged flooring; while McAlpine’s insurers subsequently claim against subbie NG Bailey

Sir Robert McAlpine is facing a compensation claim worth more than £530,000 over technical problems with its Derriford Hospital extension in Plymouth.

The Terence Lewis building, built between 2004 and 2006, involved the construction of a cardiac unit and theatre wing extension including two main operating theatres on behalf of Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust.

However, a leak in one of the utility rooms serving one of the theatres caused “bubbling” problems across the floors of both theatres - a problem so serious that surgery had to be cancelled while repairs were carried out.

Plymouth NHS Trust is negotiating its claim against the contractor out of court.

This emerged after Sir Robert McAlpine’s insurers launched a £100,000 High Court claim against the insurers of mechanical and electrical subcontractor NG Bailey, which it claims installed a damaged water pipe in the utility room that caused the leak.

In court documents seen by Building, McAlpine claimed that NG Bailey installed the leaking pipe in an “inaccessible void in the wall”.

“McAlpine will say that the pipe had been installed by Bailey with a cut made by a pipe cutter that had penetrated most but not all of the wall thickness,” the document stated.

“Although initially the pipe was watertight, progressive growth of the cut took place by a mechanism known as ‘creep rupture’.”

Repairs cost almost £70,000 and the hospital claimed it has lost £530,000 worth of income due to the closure of the two theatres.

A spokesperson for Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “We have made a claim against Sir Robert McAlpine. [It] relates to patient activity we were unable to carry out as a result of the problem with the cardiac theatre flooring. We are still in negotiation and have not had to resort to legal action. We are unable to say anything further at the moment.”

A spokesperson for Sir Robert McAlpine said: “We are not in dispute with the hospital or NG Bailey directly. This is purely a matter of insurance claims between respective insurance companies.” NG Bailey declined to comment.