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Multiplex and Mott MacDonald settle Wembley case

Wembley Stadium firms Multiplex and Mott MacDonald have settled their £253M claim against the costs and overruns at the Stadium, it was confirmed today.

The firms appear to have headed the advice of the judge presiding over the case at the Technology and Construction Court. Justice Coulson told the parties in April to settle out of court or face costs likely to be in excess of £74M.

Brookfield was claiming £253M from Mott MacDonald for alleged design failures on the £798M project.

Brookfield brought stadium contractor Mulitplex Construction in 2008.But the parties have now come to an agreement.

“Brookfield Construction and Mott MacDonald as leader of the Mott Stadium Consortium consisting of themselves, Sinclair Knight Merz and Aurecon have settled the legal proceedings between Brookfield and Mott over the design and construction of Wembley Stadium,” said a joint statement.

Construction lawyers said both sides will be relieved to put the project behind them.

“It affects the companies and individuals involved,” said Burgess Salmon partner William Gard. “It’s difficult because reputations are on the line.

The stress imposed on people involved in cases like these are unbelievable.”

The parties will lodge an order with Technology and Construction Court where the formal settlement will be made. This is expected in the next three weeks.

The case is one the biggest even seen by the Technology and Construction Court.

Readers' comments (4)

  • Now no details available? Hence no basis for lessons to be learnt by others to assist in preventing such catestrophic performances and in avoiding the massive amount of money diverted into the pockets of lawyers which could have been better used elsewhere?

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  • I wholly agree with the above comment ...

    It seems to me having followed this case and the contruction before that there was a lack of document control... no one seems to have known what was submitted, and when, and was the buildablability checks, etc carried out. Where are the records.

    Construction Portals and EDM are just NO SUBSTITUTE for proper record keeping from which one can ascertain very quickly what was and what was NOT done in terms of design submissions and approvals and acceptance.

    For long, the oil and gas, and process industries have adopted what is often called SDRS or VDRL [Supplier/Vendor Document Requirement Schedule/Listing].

    Selling the only commercailly available product which has such features, I can most definitely say that altho "using the web" is most obvious, and any package that doesn't encapsulate FTP / HTTP / HTML forms / Web Services to automate processing is not worth considering, the KEY BENEFIT of good document control is to MAKE BETTER USE of the masses of information - viz SDRS but I find that with accountants and it guys now often making the buy decisions, people just get the WRONG package. With inevitable results.

    Nad that is as the previous commentator says is to keep the london lawyers in the manner to which they are accustomed to the detriment of our industry.

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  • The lawyers win yet again!!! Why (oh why) do we have the situation where those who take the risk and do the work get a minimal reward compared with the bloated legal fat cats? The answer is because we allow them to create the confrontational platforms alongside ridiculously competitive practices on which failure is much more likely to occur. Then we are faced with massive costs to extricate from the mess created. Construction is vilified for quoting realistic costs and not always competing to the and contrast with the approach of lawyers to "standard costs". In life, justice costs two arms and two legs.

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  • Over the last 40 years I have seen the Institutions put a lot of time and effort into new forms of Conditions of Contract, including now the NEC forms and other systems designed to improve on an ongoing history of poor project performance - time and cost over-runs, failures and with extensive disputes. What appears to have occurred on this Wembley project seems not untypical of the sort of problems that have too often occurred, including confused responsibility splits and lack of agreed records. I remember Max Abrahamson setting out at one of his famous Contracts seminars the 3 most important elements of any claim - records, more records, and even more records!

    However, the bulk of these C.of C and other changes were not only unnecessary but have far too often not provided any marked improvement, particularly the management by committee implicit within the NEC contracts. All that has ever been necessary, and is critically necessary, is properly defined contract responsibility splits, adequate and unambiguous specifications, comprehensive enough programmes fully identifying all that is to be done and when, by all the parties involved - including the Engineer and the Client, but most importantly an enpowered driving "Engineer" with the necessary contracts, technical and construction/installation skills and experience and with no management by committee who provides proper and effective "independent" overall supervision and control. The latter implies a Project Leader with extensive "hands-on" across the board exposure and experience with both consultants and contractors. Properly handled the previous C of C's available coped with every situation and every problem that could arise!

    The only improvements I ever thought were necessary and have rarely ever been provided were (1) "Engineer" supervisor and Project Leader not to be the Consultant Designer and hence truly independent, and (2) Projects run by engineers and not grossly influenced and manipulated by QS's, Accountants and Lawyers.

    The problem for consultants continues to be minimal returns for maximum risk, including PLC consultants who increasingly will be pushed into accepting more "contractor" risks responsibilities but with no premium payments for excellence. Too often there is also a failure in the industry to provide the sort of systems adopted within, say, the Petrochemical industries - far better responsibilty splits' definitions, more effective documentation control and communication routes, cost engineers who know the works involved and therefore the true basis of costs and delays, including all appropriate records - and not QS's, better planners who are engineers who know the works and the implied sequences and interfaces and are not simply picture drawers, better subcontract/supplier management, and Project Leaders with drive and fully involved!.

    The fees and enhanced margins that should be available to consultants and contractors should be for efficient and experienced engineers in return for completing works to quality,time, and budget, and not for Lawyers, QS's and other hangers-on!

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