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Spinnaker Tower: what went wrong

Client: Portsmouth City Council Contractor: Mowlem Consultant: Scott Wilson, replaced Arup in 2002 The quest to design and build this landmark structure on the Portsmouth waterfront has been far from plain sailing.

Costs have risen from £16.5M to £26M and the July 2004 completion date is long missed.

Latest stimates suggest that the 165m tall concrete A-frame structure with steel box girders spread to mimic a curved sail, will be ready in May.

Specification changes and hold ups getting the contractor on site have been cited as causes of the delays. Lead designer Arup was also replaced in December 2002 by Scott Wilson (NCE 12 December 2002).

Council chief executive Nick Gurney admitted to an internal inquiry that Portsmouth had 'overstretched itself' by managing the complex project in house (NCE 18 July 2002). He said that it wanted to avoid paying 'expensive external managers'.

Portsmouth took on the management of the project after developer Berkeley pulled out of a deal to build, operate and finance the tower in 1998.

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