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Capita Symonds set to quit Dubai light rail

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DESIGN CHANGES on the Dubai Light Rail project have forced consultant Capita Symonds to pull out of the £1.86bn scheme it emerged this week.

Project sources told NCE that the consultant had withdrawn because it was working on a fixed fee contract which did not anticipate changes in scope.

So far the scheme has been a lucrative source of revenue for Capita Symonds helping push up fees up from £140M in 2004 to £180M in 2005 (NCE Consultants File 2006).

'The project scope changed quite a bit in terms of requirements for depots and stations but there was little provision for change in the contract. It proved too difficult for Capita to do the work for a fixed fee, ' said the source.

Capita is subcontracted to Japanese contractor Obayashi to provide civil, structural, architectural and mechanical and electrical design on the 70km project. Following the contract award, client Dubai Municipality requested design changes but project insiders said Capita Symonds would not be paid for the extra work required.

Engineers in the region confi med that late changes in project scope are common among Middle Eastern clients, who tend to be government departments or government owned developers. But they said that contracts do not often allow for this.

The project source told NCE that Capita was expected to pull out of the project by the end of April but said that staff seconded to Obayashi were expected to remain with the contractor.

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