Two super-contractors join forces to pool experience and expertise in bid to win £240m stadium redevelopment.
Sir Robert McAlpine has formed a powerful partnership with Australian contractor Multiplex to bid for the £240m redevelopment of Wembley stadium.

McAlpine, which built Wembley in 1923, and Sydney Olympic stadium contractor Multiplex, have agreed to bid together when tenders are invited next year.

Ed Obilia, Multiplex's construction manager for Sydney, will soon be available to manage the project, but it is not yet clear whether he will lead the bid. Benny Kelly, McAlpine London and South-east regional director, said the partnership would be a true joint venture with a full input from both firms.

He said: "We are in discussions with Multiplex over a partnership that would utilise resources from both sides. We have significant heavy construction and engineering experience, while they have worked closely with parts of the Wembley design team in recent years."

The revamped Wembley is to be designed by a joint venture between Foster and Partners and HOK Lobb, which designed the soon-to-be-complete Sydney stadium.

This joint venture, too, has undergone a recent change. When it was formed, Foster, HOK and Lobb were three separate firms with a 33% stake each in the design work for the project, but HOK and Lobb merged last year. So that HOK Lobb and Foster have equal involvement, the joint venture has been redrawn to give the merged company and Foster a 50% stake each.

McAlpine's contracting joint venture was formed after Multiplex carried out work for McAlpine, acting as a developer in Sydney and Perth.

The Wembley contract is expected to be carried out on a design-and-build basis with a fixed price, which means that significant risk will be placed on the contractor. But Kelly said: "We would love to be involved with Wembley and to repeat what we did when it was first built. It's a challenge, but it's not unknown for us to take on significant challenges."

McAlpine recently won the £63m project to rebuild Glasgow's Hampden Park stadium, and over the years, has carried out work at Leicester City, West Ham, Aston Villa and Newcastle United football grounds.

However, it is expected to face strong competition from other contractors for the Wembley commission. Giant French contractor Bouygues, which built Paris' Stade de France, the 1998 World Cup final venue, is expected to bid, as are Dutch giants HBG and Ballast Wiltshier, which both have experience of building large stadia on the Continent.

Amec, which has made a strong play for Manchester's £90m new Commonwealth Games stadium, is expected to bid because it is particularly keen to work on a design-and-build contract.