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Skanska halts work on 'world's tallest modular tower'

Skanska has stopped work on a 32-storey modular tower in New York, citing concerns over the design.

The designers of the 100m-tall apartment building in Brooklyn, SHoP Architects, claim it will be the highest modular tower in the world, with 60% of construction completed off site.

B2 Brooklyn

Artist impression of the B2 modular tower in Brooklyn.

The £70M project – known as B2 – is being built with 930 steel-framed modules. But only 10 have been completed after 21 months of work.

Skanska has also halted work at the Brooklyn Navy Yard prefabrication plant.

The contractor is now in dispute with developer Forest City Ratner. It blames the delay on the modular designs for the building, and believes the developer should pay for the cost-overrun.

Richard Kennedy, co-chief operating officer of Skanska USA, told the Wall Street Journal: “it [the design] just doesn’t work the way it was sold to work.”

“It was represented to be a complete and buildable modular design,” he said. “That simply was not the case and that’s what we’ve been struggling with.”

Forest City Ratner said its design was appropriate, and that the dispute with Skanska was purely based on financial reasons.

“We are extremely disappointed that Skanska has unilaterally and wrongfully stopped work,” said spokesman Jonathan Rosen. He attributed the overruns to Skanska’s “failures and missteps as the construction manager,” adding that “they are employing a typical strategy to try to weasel out of that obligation” to pay the costs of the project.

The project began in 2012, with Forest City claiming its modular high-rises could save 30% on the cost of a typical apartment tower, and be delivered in 75% of the time. Construction is not expected to complete now until late next year.

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