Further delays to London Bridge tower as Mace fights to keep its role on the £350m scheme

Demolition work on the site of the Shard, the tower that would be western Europe’s tallest, is already six weeks behind schedule, it has emerged.

Work on the building is delayed while its developer, Sellar Property Group, struggles to convince its new Kuwaiti backers that the cost of the 310m building won’t spiral out of control.

A project source said: “A month ago we were raring to go. We were told it’d be three days, then a week. Now it’s six weeks and still the button hasn’t been pressed.

“The demolition contractor [Keltbray] has been holding its team together for as long as it can but it is at the point where it will have to start sending the team to other jobs.”

Keltbray declined to comment other than to say that it was still working on the scheme.

It has also emerged that executives at Mace, the scheme’s construction manager, has been trying to convince Sellar that it can deliver the project within its provisional £350m budget. It is believed that Mace, which avoids taking on fixed-price contracts, is prepared to offer a fixed-price deal to retain its place.

Mace’s position as construction manager on the scheme is understood to be in doubt. The source said: “The new backers are not happy about the risk of construction management.”

Last week it emerged that Laing O’Rourke, which had been bidding to take on some of the Shard’s superstructure work, was in discussions with Sellar over a possible fixed-price deal for the whole project. The contractor has now moved staff into the project’s site offices at London Bridge.

A spokesperson for Laing O’Rourke said it was “in discussions” with Sellar. It is understood that the contractor has not yet been appointed to do anything on the scheme.