Australian contractor sounding out specialist staff to work on Wembley as client meets banks today to remove doubts over funding.
Wembley contractor Multiplex is scouring the UK for six senior people for the £326m national stadium in north-west London.

One candidate sounded out by the Australian contractor said it had been looking for senior staff with stadium experience since October. Many of those approached are believed to be from rival contractors.

Multiplex UK managing director Paul Gandy, who joined from Kvaerner in the summer, is expected to lead the construction team for the project.

Multiplex's plans have been overshadowed by doubts over funding. Client Wembley National Stadium is due to hear from banks that may fund the scheme today.

A WNSL source said if the banks responded positively, demolition could start immediately. If no agreement is reached, demolition would be postponed until early next year.

The source said the financial doubts would not affect the contract price or the start and completion dates for construction.

The source said: "We have targets but not specific opening times, which means we don't have to throw money at problems just to meet a specific date."

If the banks respond in a positive way, demolition of the old stadium could start immediately

wnsl source

Construction of the stadium is due to begin next spring, with completion in late 2003.

Multiplex, Australia's largest private contractor, was chosen as sole contractor in September when the Bovis Lend Lease/Multiplex joint venture was ended following a dispute over pricing the project.

A WNSL spokesman said in September that it was unlikely that Multiplex would seek a new partner.

An industry source said there was plenty of market interest in developments at Multiplex, which has remained secretive about its UK plans.

The source said: "Lots of people are watching the Australians with interest."