Racecourse plans legal battle with Laing O’Rourke after ‘viewing problems’ spark £10m revamp

The management of Ascot racecourse is gearing up for a legal battle against Laing O’Rourke over problems with the £185m redevelopment of the venue.

Building understands that Ascot’s management is planning to start early legal proceedings against the contractor after this year’s Royal meeting in June. Both parties have legal teams in place.

The dispute will centre on viewing problems that followed the redevelopment of the grandstand, completed last June, which has forced Ascot to launch a £10m programme of remediation works.

The racecourse’s managers drafted in civil engineer McArdle Group and structural specialist Intelligent Engineering Solutions to carry out the work. Arup is also working on the project in an advisory capacity with original architect HOK Sport.

Peter Rogers, Stanhope’s director, was brought in to troubleshoot the scheme after the viewing problems came to light following last year’s Royal meeting. Laing O’Rourke is not involved in the work.

Ascot is planning to start proceedings against the contractor after this year’s Royal meeting

Sources close to the project said this week that legal action was likely to commence after this year’s Royal Ascot, and was likely to initially involve mediation and adjudication, with the possibility of a full court case if the issues could not be resolved.

Ascot said this week that despite recent poor weather it was still on track to complete the modifications, which include increasing the gradient of the lawns to improve viewing, by the end of April.

An Ascot spokesperson said: "Our priority at the moment is to get the stand’s limitations resolved for Royal Ascot. The legal case is not a live issue at the moment."

Laing O’Rourke declined to comment.