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NAO claims continue

OUTSTANDING CLAIMS of nearly £15M are still being fought by contractor Wimpey and the Natural Environment Research Council more than two years after the Southampton Oceanography Centre was completed, it was revealed this week.

A National Audit Office report into the project concluded that massive time and cost overruns were 'caused primarily by poor project management'.

The damning study into the six storey waterfront building said it was completed 22 months late. The project was a joint venture by NERC and Southampton University and was managed by a NERC team lacking the 'necessary training and expertise', it said.

Although NERC puts the official cost of the building at £49M, a further £2M is being withheld from Wimpey because of time overruns. NERC says Wimpey is also asking for a further £12.6M to cover final construction costs.

Costs soared, the NAO said, as the design was not finalised before construction began and budgets were poorly controlled.

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