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Opening date drifts as Wembley battles on


WEMBLEY STADIUM'S owner said this week it was delaying vital equipment installation for fear of giving contractor Multiplex more excuses for delays to the project.

Wembley National Stadium Limited (WNSL) could now begin installing radio and communications equipment, vital for commissioning the stadium and gaining its operating license from Brent Council.

But even though delaying this work could lead to a later completion date, WNSL has decided to wait until Multiplex has left the site.

'We just need Multiplex to finish their job so that we can start, ' said a WNSL spokesman.

'We're keen to avoid getting in Multiplex's way and they're quite keen to use it as a way of pinning extensions of time on us. They say they'll finish by July 2007, but before they said midJune, and before that March.

One thing we know is that we don't believe their deadlines.' Multiplex announced on Tuesday that the stadium would be unable to host the 2007 FA Cup Final, because WNSL had not yet started its work and would be unable to test safety and communications equipment until June 2007.

'If Wembley had come on site to integrate their works, then they could start commissioning from October (2006), ' said a Multiplex spokesman.

The contractor said that it had achieved 'substantial completion' of the stadium this week and said it would complete outstanding remedial work on the roof and drains by next month.

But a WNSL spokesman said that 'substantial completion' carried no contractual weight and doubted whether Multiplex would meet its obligations by September 2006.

He said that WNSL believed that it could carry out its additional work after Multiplex had vacated the site since radio equipment installation did not affect Multiplex's ability to achieve 'practical completion' - a term which is contained in the construction contract.

WNSL now expects that Multiplex will fi nish on site in October giving it four months to finish off the stadium. The first events are booked from February 2007.

Multiplex is also claiming that it is entitled to an extension of time up to October 2007 because of delays caused by late design changes.

Lawyers for both companies are preparing cases for adjudication over the claim.

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