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Kier called back to ‘sweltering’ surgery

Kier Group has insisted that problems with high temperatures at a doctor’s surgery in Ipswich are a one-off.

The company completed work on Ravenswood Medical Practice two years ago, but is having to go back after complaints from staff and patients about sweltering temperatures.

A spokeswoman for Kier Eastern stressed that the company had not experienced this problem in any other project. She said: “We are not aware of any similar problems at any of our past or present projects.”

The building was originally designed without air conditioning, as Kier believed temperatures would not regularly exceed 28 deg C. But, according to the practice, temperatures regularly exceeded 30 deg C, with some consultation rooms on the south side reaching 32 to 33 degrees.

Christine Watts, practice manager, told the Ipswich-based Evening Star newspaper: “It is hard to work in those temperatures and for patients to feel comfortable. We’ve had lots of complaints. It is a disappointment from a design point of view.”

Kier has agreed to install air conditioning in the waiting room but will not be installing any remedial measures in the consultation rooms.

The Kier spokeswoman said: “During our original design review it was considered that mechanical ventilation would provide a comfortable waiting environment for patients and that additional cooling was not necessary. It is now apparent that during periods of prolonged hot weather this is not the case.

“We are taking steps to rectify the problem by fitting solar reflective film to glazed areas and mechanical cooling in the waiting areas. A chilled air source will be provided, which reduces the ambient temperature, and air circulation is provided by the ventilation fans.”