DESIGN CHANGES on the guaranteed maximum price Cardiff's Millennium Stadium contract will cost Laing more than pounds 20M, it was revealed this week.
The contractor made an announcement to the Stock Exchange on Monday of the provision set against the design & build contract to construct the new home of Welsh rugby, a replacement for the legendary Cardiff Arms Park.
It has blamed problems with the design of the stadium's retractable roof for delays to the project. This had to redesigned after a dispute with the neighbouring Cardiff Athletic Club, causing a hold up of at least two months and a huge escalation in construction costs.
The pounds 121M Cardiff Stadium project was only at the concept design stage when Laing signed the contract in July 1996.
'We didn't properly understand the impact design changes might have on the project.' said Laing Construction chairman David Blair. 'It's not something we will do again, especially for a special purpose company like the one created to build the Millennium Stadium.'
Laing is examining whether it can recover any cost from client, the Welsh Rugby Union. However, WRU chairman Glanmoor Griffiths was this week quoted in the national press as saying that he did not anticipate any legal action and that 'Laing is a big company ... it can absorb substantial losses.'
The stadium is due to host its first game in June 1999 and four months later will be the main venue for the 1999 Rugby World Cup. Laing has successfully applied for 24 hour working to enable it meet the deadline.
Laing's bid for the stadium was led by Civil Engineering managing director Tony Evans. At the
time he told NCE:
'As a Welshman, with rugby in my blood, it is an honour to be involved in the project.'
On Laing's securing the project, Griffiths said: 'Quality of execution, budgetary control and timing were the vital elements [in awarding the contract].