As FA moves cup final to Cardiff, clients and subcontractors assess their relationships with Wembley contractor
Beleaguered contractor Multiplex is adamant that it will stay in UK contracting, despite finally conceding this week it would not complete Wembley Stadium in time for this year's FA Cup Final.
The Australian contractor ended months of speculation on Monday by announcing to the Australian stock exchange that it could not guarantee that the stadium would be completed by its 31 March deadline. The Football Association has confirmed that the match will be held at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium.
The news means that Multiplex is now revising the construction programme at Wembley.
A spokesperson for the firm assured Building that talk of a rift with its supply chain was incorrect and said it had no plans to pull out of the UK.
He said: "The relationship with our subcontractors is very good. We have been growing our supply chain within the UK. Multiplex continues to become more embedded in the UK, and as it does so its supply chain is deepening."
A senior industry source at a leading consultant said Multiplex's reputation in the UK had suffered. He said: "They'll finish all the big stuff they're handling at the moment but they've realised you can't treat subbies over here the way they do in Australia."
A senior subcontracting source said: "There's enough work in the UK at the moment for subcontractors - why would you go with Multiplex and get a hard time when you could go with Bovis and have a good relationship with them?"
A client source said developers would be likely to avoid working with Multiplex on future projects.
Why would you go with Multiplex and get a hard time?
Senior subcontracting source
Meanwhile, Multiplex is preparing sweeping changes to its construction programme on Wembley.
It is reassessing its options in order to minimise the huge fines it faces for the delay, which total about £1m a week. Multiplex has already reported a £70m loss on the project.
One subcontractor working on the project said: "Multiplex is saying it will look again at aspects of the construction work now it can step back. The project has to be reprogrammed, and we are awaiting their decision."
A Multiplex source said: "We are in constant contact with the client to determine which phases should be brought on first to ensure that the stadium can be handed over at the earliest possible opportunity."
However, Multiplex denied speculation that it was looking to bring in an additional electrical contractor to assist Phoenix Electrical, the M&E contractor on the project. Phoenix made 87 workers employed by agency BMS redundant this week.
Multiplex is also thought to be in the process of selling off much of its UK property portfolio.