Yuanda wants its first UK skyscraper job

Chinese skyscraper specialist Yuanda is stalking a prestigious job on British Land’s Cheesegrater tower in London.

The bid by the cladding contractor would be its first UK skyscraper job.

If successful the Chinese cladding contractor would usurp long-term favourites for the job, Germany-based Gartner.

Gartner was appointed on the Cheesegrater in 2007 but was dropped when British Land shelved the scheme because of the recession.

Building understands Gartner and Yuanda have submitted tenders to the four contractors bidding for the main contractor role - Mace, Skanska, Sir Robert McAlpine and Laing O’Rourke.

The four contractors submitted their bids for the design and build job last Friday and a winner is expected to be announced in the first week of August.

However, one source close to the project said not all four contractors had incorporated the Chinese contractor’s tender into their bids to British Land.

Yuanda completed its first major job in the UK last year on the cladding for the Park Plaza hotel near Westminster Bridge.

It has also completed a number of other mid-sized contracts, and is currently working on a mixed-used development in Snow Hill in Birmingham and a Thames Gateway project.

Yuanda is the second largest curtain wall contractor in the world and has worked on skyscrapers in the USA, Australia and Middle East as well as on several of the 2008 Beijing Olympic stadiums.

Cormac MacCrann, executive director of Canary Wharf Contractors, said that manufacturing capability meant cladding was one of the main areas where Chinese contractors could compete in the UK.

“There are many Asian cladding contractors that would like to work here. There’s not much competition for major cladding projects - you’ve only got a small number of companies.

“It’s the one area where Chinese companies with their manufacturing capabilities can compete.”