The developer of the new Wembley stadium is heading for a showdown with its contractor as arguments over the construction cost continue.
It has emerged that the design for the stadium is being value-engineered in a bid to get its cost down to the client’s £316m estimate.
It is also understood that contractor Bovis Lend Lease, which has been at loggerheads with the client for months over the price, is considering its position.
Wembley National Stadium chief executive Bob Stubbs confirmed that joint venture Bovis Lend Lease/Multiplex is working on design changes to cut the price.
Stubbs commented: “We’re not meeting anyone halfway. We either get the right numbers [for the price] or we retender the whole thing. It’s as simple as that. They know our price and they can walk away if they want.” However, he also denied that Bovis Lend Lease might pull out and said he would not discuss “hypothetical” situations.
We’re not meeting anyone halfway. We either get the right numbers or we retender
Bob Stubbs,Wembly National Stadium
A scheme insider said Bovis Lend Lease might withdraw rather than try to build the stadium at a price that is £40-50m less than it believes is viable.
The insider said: “It’s a difficult one to call, but Bovis is not keen on exposing itself to risk just to be on a prestige project. There’s a good chance that Multiplex might end up taking on the whole scheme itself.”
He added: “Multiplex is still very keen to do the project and as a client Wembley has already upset a lot of people, so it’s doubtful that it would want to go cap in hand back to other contractors.”
A spokesperson for Bovis Lend Lease declined to comment, saying it was bound by a confidentiality agreement with Wembley National Stadium. Multiplex was unavailable for comment, and stadium architect Foster and Partners declined to comment.
Design changes to bridge the £50m cash gap have been suggested in the past two weeks. Stubbs said: “If there have to be design compromises, then that is what will happen. We are looking at value engineering and areas where the building could be over-specified to get the price down. Contractors know more about that sort of thing than architects.”