Contractor understood to have been left unpaid by R&F for months
Work on Multiplex’s £1bn One Nine Elms site in London is not expected to get back up to speed until the spring as the contractor and its Chinese client sort out a deal on late payments.
The Battersea scheme, which involves building two residential towers of 42 and 58 storeys high, normally has around 1,000 people on the job, including 750 operatives.
But from this week that number is expected to be significantly reduced as Multiplex and R&F work to sort out a payment wrangle which is understood to have left the contractor unpaid for months.
Multiplex declined to comment but it is likely the firm’s missing payments run into millions of pounds while the contractor has continued to pay subcontractors, including concrete frame specialist Byrne Bros, for their work.
A joint formal announcement on the scheme is expected from Multiplex and R&F later this week with the developer, which is based in Guangzhou, believed to have run into problems making a bond repayment of $725m due last month.
Designed by KPF, the One Nine Elms job, which has topped out, is expected to be finished at the end of next year.
It will include close to 450 apartments along with a five star hotel as well as public space although the scheme was hit by claims last year that R&F has struggled to sell the homes.
Four years ago, R&F bought the job off another Chinese developer Dalian Wanda which had made Multiplex the third contractor appointed to the project.
It was originally due to be built by a pairing of Interserve and China State Construction Engineering Corporation, appointed in 2015, but the team was replaced by Balfour Beatty the following summer only for the contractor to walk away that autumn after failing to agree terms. Multiplex was appointed at the start of the following year.
In a statement, R&F said: “Work is continuing at One Nine Elms while we discuss a set of issues with Multiplex to ensure a successful completion of the development.”