National stadium team issues claims to cover the cost of disruption caused by Cleveland Bridge dispute

Multiplex, the main contractor at Wembley national stadium, is facing claims from subcontractors totalling about £20m after the disruptions that beset the project last year.

The multimillion-pound claims follow delays caused by the departure of steel contractor Cleveland Bridge last June. The site was severely disrupted between March and August last year as a legal dispute developed between Multiplex and Cleveland Bridge, which was in charge of erecting the landmark arch structure.

The 15-week delay prevented all the large trade packages from progressing and the firms involved have now issued claims for extension of time and costs for the disruption caused.

Building understands that concrete contractor PC Harrington will lodge the highest claim of £4-5m. Electrical contractor Phoenix Electrical and mechanical firm MJN Colston are understood to have issued claims for about £2m each, and facilities management company Honeywell, Italian-owned cladding outfit Permasteelisa, and Bison Concrete are claiming between £500,000 and £1m. It is understood that the full amount at stake is between £15m and £20m.

Multiplex is thought to have urged the firms to document their claims in full with the intention of passing them on to Cleveland Bridge should it win its High Court battle against the steel contractor, due to be heard next year.

Multiplex announced at the end of last week that it expected to make a loss on the project of at least £45m and that it might not be completed until three months after the January deadline.

As the announcement was made, the Multiplex’s shares crashed and were suspended on the Australian stock market (see pages 12-13).

The announcement said the extent of the losses was dependent on five factors: the ability to successfully recover claims against third parties, the ability to meet the construction programme, costs associated with the project’s steel works, the cost of project preliminaries and, as required, acceleration, and the weather.

Multiplex is now gearing up to complete the roof, the final part of the construction work

Ashley Muldoon, Wembley project director, admitted that a number of subcontractors had submitted claims for the disruption. However, he added that Multiplex was still working towards the January deadline.

Multiplex is now gearing up to complete the roof, the final part of the construction work.

However, there could be one further hurdle to overcome. The commissioning and opening of the stadium, which includes obtaining a safety licence, could take three months and Multiplex is keen that WNSL have access to the site from October.

The client has yet to name a date, however, and this is understood to have become a bone of contention between the two.

Multiplex is not happy that it may have to shoulder all the blame should the FA Cup final not take place at Wembley next year, especially if it is the case that WNSL has not acted swiftly enough to plan the handover and the facilities management.

PC Harrington was not available for comment, MJN Colston, Permasteelisa and Bison Concrete refused to comment, Phoenix Electrical admitted it had a claim against Multiplex, and Honeywell was unavailable for comment.