The contractor is already on site at the shopping centre redevelopment

Intu Watford

Laing O’Rourke has been confirmed by retail developer Intu as the main contractor on its £178m revamp of Watford shopping centre.

The project plans to extend Intu Watford into a single 1.4 million sq ft shopping centre. The cost of the job has jumped by 22% since last summer, when Laing O’Rourke replaced BAM on the scheme.

Bam had been lined up as the main contractor on the job, but walked away last summer after failing to agree a price for the job with Intu after the cost of the scheme increased by 48%, from £100m to £148m.

Bam said at the time that “ultimately we could not reach agreement with Intu on a sum that reflected an agreed view of the market and the management of risks”.

Liam Cummins, head of UK construction at Laing O’Rourke said: “We are delighted to be continuing to develop our partnership with Intu, and look forward to delivering this transformational retail project for Watford.”

In a trading update earlier this month Intu said it had agreed a fixed cost building contract for the revamp and extension works, adding that the main contractor was on site following the demolition by Keltbray of the former Charter Place precinct adjacent to the centre.

Intu in the update ascribed the latest jump in cost to “cost inflation” driven by booming demand in the nearby London market and a “re-defined” scope for the works, which now includes improved services including upgraded car parks.

Rebecca Ryman, regional director of Intu, said: “Our £178m extension of Intu Watford will transform the centre into a contemporary shopping experience providing a fantastic place to shop, eat and play. It will massively strengthen Intu Watford as a destination which retailers want to invest in and our visitors enjoy.”