Contractor understood to be owed north of £50m

Multiplex is not expecting to be back up to speed on its stalled £1bn One Nine Elms site in London until May while a payment wrangle with its Chinese client is fixed with the contractor understood to be owed more than £50m.

The Battersea scheme, which involves building two residential towers of 42 and 58 storeys high, normally has around 1,200 people on the job but this has more than halved to fewer than 500 since the end of last month while the contractor and R&F work to sort out a deal.

Building understands Multiplex has not been paid for several months but has continued to pay key subcontractors including concrete frame firm Byrne Bros and M&E contractor T Clarke. Fit-out work is due to be carried out by Mivan.


The scheme was supposed to finish next year but this is now in doubt because of the payment wrangle

It is expected that Byrne will continue to carry out a small amount of work at the job with staff from the major trade contractors kept on ahead of the full restart in May with operatives redeployed to other sites.

R&F is understood to be confident that it will get the necessary backing to keep the scheme going.

The developer, which is based in Guangzhou, believed to have run into problems making a bond repayment of $725m due last month.

In a joint statement, the pair said: “R&F Properties and Multiplex are working together to deliver One Nine Elms, with a programme of works continuing to take place on site, returning to full capacity shortly.”

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, set to be operated by Hyatt, as well as public space.

Four years ago, R&F bought the job from 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.

It had been expected to finish in the first half of 2023 but the delays have pushed completion until later into the year at the earliest.