Contractor is second to withdraw from twin-tower project after failing to agree terms for main build contract

Balfour Beatty has become the second contractor to walk away from Chinese developer Dalian Wanda’s debut UK project, the £1bn One Nine Elms twin-tower scheme, after failing to agree terms for the main build contract, Building can reveal.

The contractor won a pre-construction services deal on the project (pictured) to much fanfare in the summer. At the time Balfour chief executive Leo Quinn was upbeat that the firm had put together a top team, fresh from transforming the Olympic stadium into West Ham United’s new ground.

But in a joint statement issued to Building this week, Balfour Beatty and Dalian Wanda’s UK subsidiary Wanda One confirmed they had failed to agree a main build contract and would part ways this month: “We can confirm that Balfour Beatty’s pre-construction services agreement with Wanda One (UK) Ltd for the main contract for the One Nine Elms development comes to a close in 10 days’ time.

“Wanda One (UK) Ltd and Balfour Beatty will not be proceeding to a full contract award for the development.”

The favourite to replace Balfour on the job is believed to be Multiplex, which lost out to Balfour Beatty in July in a two-horse race for the luxury hotel and residential job.

A source close to the project said Balfour and Wanda had failed to reach agreement on “money and time” and the client was now “turning to Multiplex”, having built up a “rapport” with the firm on a project Multiplex has been building for the Chinese client on Australia’s Gold Coast.

Wanda One and Multiplex declined to comment.

The job was originally awarded to a joint venture between Interserve and China State Construction Engineering Corporation in April 2015, but a final deal failed to materialise and Wanda One went back to the market.

Quinn told Building in August the One Nine Elms contract was “going very well” and satisfactory “margins and cash flow” had been factored in.

But he had cautioned: “We’re building up an estimate with the customer that will move into a final contract if it suits both parties.”

Once completed One Nine Elms will comprise two skyscrapers and homes, as well as the first Wanda Hotel outside of China.