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Manchester faces £25M claim over runway delays

CLAIMS TOTALLING over £25M are about to be lodged against Manchester Airport by the contractor building its late running second runway, NCE has learned.

The move follows revelations that construction of the controversial £172M runway ended last month, nearly 10 months late, and that full commercial operation is unlikely before next spring - a year behind the original schedule (NCE last week).

Heated contractual debate is likely as most risks under the £108M design and build contract lie with contracting joint venture Amec-Carillion. The JV claims that delays arose after confusion over design responsibility for 100km of runway lighting ducts.

However, the client blames bad weather during 2.4Mm 3earthworks, a factor which is indisputably the contractor's risk.

The news surfaced earlier this week as the airport unveiled its near complete runway to the media. It will be the UK's first new facility for 20 years and the cornerstone of Manchester's plan to overtake Gatwick as the country's second busiest airport.

Outline design of the lighting ducts was completed under a separate contract, later novated to the JV. 'Responsibility for detailed design then clearly rested with the main contractor and it is preposterous to suggest otherwise, ' said the airport's head of projects Peter Dawson.

'All the delay was caused by bad weather.'

The contractor argues that late ducting design forced summer planned operations, such as runway concreting, into the weather-hit winter months. The JV has already been awarded a 20 week extension following recommendations from an independent conciliator.

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