Multiplex project director claims Wembley steel contractor’s prices were ‘out of this world’

Ashley Muldoon, Multiplex’s project director for Wembley stadium, returned to the witness stand this week as hearing began into the level of damages to be paid by Cleveland Bridge (CBUK) on the project.

Muldoon engaged in heated exchanges with Adrian Williamson, CBUK counsel, during which he accused the steel contractor of putting forward prices that were “out of this world”. He added that during the project he feared CBUK might try to “hold [Multiplex] to ransom”.

The dispute is over whether a £12m fixed-price agreed for elements of CBUK’s work in February 2004 includes temporary roof works. CBUK says the works fell outside the £12m so it should be paid separately for them. Multiplex claims the revised price agreement drawn up in February 2004, six months before CBUK walked off the project, placed the temporary roof works in the £12m lump sum – not in a cost-plus arrangement separately agreed for other works.

Muldoon said that although the works were not specifically cited as part of the £12m, what was excluded was defined. The works are not on that list, which covers most on-site steel erection work.

Williamson said Muldoon’s claimed ignorance of some financial aspects of the project was “simply incredible”, and that he was back-tracking on agreements with CBUK.

Brian Rogan, CBUK’s managing director, said: “I’ve been in the industry for 35 years and in every job I’ve done, temporary works have been a function of erection. It has nothing to do with fabrication.”

If CBUK wins, it would reduce the size of Multiplex’s £20m claim against it. This is due to go to trial in the spring. CBUK’s liability for damages is £6m, but the maximum penalty it may face when revaluations are considered is £13m. The case continues.