I thank the Chairman and members of the committee. This is my first time to address the committee so I am thankful for the opportunity to introduce myself. I have met quite a few members before in other roles but I am delighted to be here wearing the hat of the chief officer of the NPHDB.
During my career to date, I have worked in Ireland and internationally. For approximately 20 years, I delivered large-scale and complex projects around the globe in positions of increasing responsibility with leading multinational companies. The projects were typically regional and national telecommunications networks. The scope of these projects included product design and development, network design, network build, commissioning and service delivery. I started my career as an Army officer, serving for almost ten years in the communications and information services corps in the Defence Forces. I am an electrical engineer by profession and hold a master’s degree in business administration.
In 2006, I was appointed chief executive officer of the State-owned company, Coillte Teoranta, which I led until 2013. My latest role before taking on this position was in healthcare as chief executive of the Royal Hospital in Donnybrook, where I had previously served on the board as a non-executive director. It is my intention to use the leadership, project delivery and contract management experience I have accumulated through the years over the course of my career to lead effectively the national paediatric hospital executive team and the broader team in this very significant project.
I have been in the role since mid-September and have spent more than two months familiarising myself with all the various strands of the project and getting to know the project stakeholders. This is one of those important stakeholder events. As Mr. Barry said, we have also made some operational and organisational changes to help strengthen our team and improve our governance and reporting structures. I fully subscribe to the vision for this hospital, which is to create one of the finest children's hospitals in the world. It is a challenging project but one that will have a profound impact on the children, young people and families that it will serve. Since starting, I have been very impressed by the passion and motivation of the broad team involved in delivering this significant project.
I will provide a brief construction update and we have included some images in our presentation. I am sure many members have either been to, or passed, the site.
To the south west of the site, opposite the South Circular Road, the frame to the finger blocks containing the outpatient departments, cardiology wards, therapy and play areas are completed to the south east. The structural frame containing the outpatient clinical decontamination unit, radiology, critical care and the theatres is also nearing completion. The frame supporting the fourth-floor garden to the south of the building is partially complete and sections of the ward block from levels 4 to 6 have commenced. The mechanical and electrical fit-out of the plant areas is well progressed. The fit-out of the outpatients department is due to commence shortly.
The north side of the site has come out of the ground to reach ground level, and the north fingers containing the overnight accommodation for outpatients' parents, the hospital school and the public restaurant are on level 1. The main campus access road, the U-shaped road coming into St. James's Hospital from the right-hand side of the photograph now being displayed, is now in a permanent position around the perimeter of the site. I refer to the access road from the South Circular Road into the site.
I will now show a couple of photographs. I direct members to the red writing in the centre of the first image. Basement 2, basement 1, the lower ground floor, ground level, level 1, level 2 and level 3 are all constructed in this area. For clarity, another three levels will go on top of level 4. These will contain the ward blocks in an oval-shaped building sitting on top. This view looks towards the west from the old access road.
I am now showing a view along the old South Circular Road entrance with which people will be familiar. It shows the fingers going from left to right. We can show the cardiology outpatient department, the surgical wards and the work spaces. The haematology and oncology department is on the left with more wards in the background. Members will notice that scaffolding is in place on all of this building in order to commence the construction of the cladding and the facade. Someone passing by on the South Circular Road will see quite a lot of change in the very near future.
I am now showing an image of the outpatient facilities in the north hot block. Again, multiple levels have scaffolding in place and are ready for cladding.
I am now showing the view from close to our offices in Rialto. This view is from near the Rialto Luas stop, looking north into the hospital. This will be part of the outpatients department.
While the concrete and steel frame is still under way, some of the mechanical and electrical service installation that has already happened can be seen in this photograph. The lagged pipes on the left side of the image correspond to the steam room. The fire protection, in the form of the sprinkler systems and other red-painted installations, is visible in the middle of the photograph. Members will also notice lots of places for baskets and other cable trays for further mechanical and electrical installations that have to go in. On the right of the picture one can see a large number of air handling units which have already been installed. They will condition the environment and ventilate the system.
I am now showing basement car park level B1. This is at an advanced stage of construction. There is not much more to be done in this area other than securing it completely and weather-proofing it once the whole building is enclosed.
In the centre of the photograph I am now showing members will see the cupola of the Royal Hospital, Kilmainham on the horizon. This is the view through an area which forms the main street through the hospital. There are buildings on the left and right. That will remain but it will be covered by a roof and by other buildings on top.
I have covered most of the areas. I would like to make two more points. Sustainability is a question that has come up in the past. The energy performance of the building is an extremely important factor in the design of the new hospital. We are targeting an "excellent" rating under the BRE environmental assessment method, BREEAM. This is the highest rating we can seek to achieve. That corresponds to a building energy rating, BER, of A3. Achieving this will allow a 60% or 70% reduction in the energy consumed in children's hospitals. These are large spaces that are expensive to heat.
As Mr. Barry mentioned, the outpatient and urgent care centres at Connolly Hospital Blanchardstown are now delivering services. This is making a positive impact on children's lives. Almost 2,000 children have attended the urgent care centre and 1,000 outpatient appointments have taken place at the centre in Blanchardstown. Again, the images do not adequately convey the scale and scope of what we are doing. On behalf of the board, I invite the committee members to visit the hospital at their convenience. We would be more than delighted to facilitate their visit. I thank the members for their time and for allowing me to introduce myself. I look forward to the discussion.