US fit-out contractor bags £10m contract in wake of ISG’s acrimonious departure from £62m project

StructureTone has won the £10m contract to carry out the final stage of the troubled £62m refurbishment of the Shell Centre tower, after ISG was thrown off the project last year.

Building understands the American-owned fit-out firm, which declined to comment, beat off competition from Overbury and Spie Matthew Hall.

Work on the 26-storey tower was halted in September following a dispute between ISG and Shell over disruption caused by the construction work and the fact that it had fallen behind schedule.

A source close to the 345,000ft2 development on London’s south bank said Shell had subsequently appointed construction claim specialist Hill International to advise it after the fit-out contractor hinted at a legal challenge.

ISG is understood to have drafted in Turner & Townsend in December to assess the possibility of mounting a claim.

It does not make sense to refurbish the wings in a way similar to the tower

James Smith, Shell UK

David Lawther, chief executive of ISG, said the client was “happy with the product”, but added: “There was a signal of change from the client and we’re going through the process of agreeing the valuations of that change.”

Meanwhile, Shell has decided that the next stage of the refurbishment programme, for three nine-storey “wings” of its head office building, will be done in a different way to the tower.

In an email sent to staff, and seen by Building, James Smith, Shell UK’s chairman, said: “We’ve concluded that it does not make sense to refurbish the wings in a way similar to the tower. Refurbishment of the wings would entail considerable disruption to staff together with significant expenditure.”

Earlier this year the oil giant announced plans to move to Canary Wharf for 10 years while a wider and as-yet unspecified redevelopment of the site was undertaken. Shell said this could take up to 2018 or longer.