Work to improve the exterior of Singleton Hospital’s main block will start this month at a cost of around £400,000, with Welsh Government support.
The project involves removing the cladding to the side elevations of the main block, and disruption will be kept to a minimum.
It will take 20 weeks to complete. However it is only the first phase of a multi-million pound project to replace all cladding on the main block.
Recent tests have identified some structural-related issues with the cladding installation.
Preparatory work will begin during the week beginning Monday 8th July, with work to remove the side cladding following on Monday 15th July.
The health board’s Assistant Director of Strategy Simon Davies said: “Some of the steel frame support was found to be corroded from the rain and salt coming in from the seafront.
“The work will involve removing the terracotta tiles and steel frame support from the existing external brick wall.
“The existing structure is safe but is not considered durable in the long term.”
An issue with the cladding to the front of the block was identified after the health board carried out tests in the wake of the Grenfell tragedy.
Mr Davies said it was not the same cladding as the aluminium composite material used on Grenfell Tower
“However, during the tests and inspections experts carried out on our behalf following the tragic events in London, we became aware that the cladding was not suitable for the hospital’s main block.
“It was intended for buildings up to a maximum of 18 metres in height, whereas Singleton is in excess of 30 metres.
“The advice to the health board was that it should be replaced due to non-compliance with building regulations.”
The use of the existing cladding was based on external advice and this is now the subject of ongoing discussions.
Mr Davies said: “Design work is likely to take around eight months with a replacement period of 18 months.
“This will be confirmed when we have appointed a main contractor to undertake the design and work package.
“The health board is working with the Welsh Government on developing a business case. Subject to approval, we would hope that this work will start during the early part of 2020.
“In the meantime we would like to assure patients, staff and visitors that there is no cause for concern over the cladding used at Singleton.
“We also have robust procedures in place in the event of a fire. This was demonstrated during the fire on Ward 12 in March when everyone was evacuated promptly and safely.”