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Client blamed for Wembley delays

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WEMBLEY STADIUM contractor Multiplex was this week seeking to avoid paying £13M in penalties to client Wembley National Stadium Limited (WNSL) by asking it to move the offi ial project completion date to September.

The contractor hit out at WNSL claiming that it had demanded design changes which had caused delays. As a result Multiplex said the client should move the project completion date to 'September 2006 if not beyond'.

But WNSL rejected the contractor's claims and said that Multiplex had so far failed to provide any evidence of design changes.

A spokesman for the contractor said: 'Multiplex has formally advised its client that Multiplex is entitled to substantial and legitimate extensions of time under the terms of its construction contract which will extend the contract completion date until at least September 2006.' WNSL disagreed: 'They think they've got [grounds for] an extension of time and we refute that.' He added that since Multiplex had not specified which design changes had impacted on the programme, it was difficult to comment on how substantial the claims were.

The stadium was originally due to be completed on 31 January. Failure to meet this deadline means that Multiplex must pay liquidated damages of £138,000 per day for the fi rst 84 days, falling to £13,800 per day thereafter.

By 1 June penalties would be £12M, and by September they would reach £13M. But the figure is capped at a maximum £14M which would be arrived at in mid-October.

A Multiplex spokesman said that the contractor was due to make its first £12M penalty payment by the end of May. This gives the contractor until 1 June to negotiate an offi cial extension.

But Multiplex admitted that some delays would be borne by the contractor, including repair of defective drains and delays cause by a roof beam falling (NCE 23 March).

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