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Wembley contractor: we won't work for UK clients anymore

Contractor Multiplex this week vowed to stop working for clients in the UK, after a harrowing year at the mercy of clients on Wembley Stadium and the White City redevelopment in West London.
Multiplex Construction managing director Martin Tidd told NCE that the company will only work on projects where it is the developer, builder and facilities manager including PPP and PFI.The move came as the company announced it was to pull out of the £1.5bn White City project. It has transferred the design and construction contract to client Westfield in a deal which allows the contractor to still make around a 5% profit on the job, in line with predictions.'The deal was struck on favourable terms and made perfect sense for de-risking our construction workbook,' explained Tidd. He added that 'substantial' design changes made by Westfield on White City when it took over the project in May 2005, would have led to wrangling and claims at the end of the project. It is understood that Westfield decided to change the masterplan of the 16ha site, after some structures had already been built.Tidd denied that the move out of White City heralded Multiplex's move out of the UK construction market. 'At £650M, the construction workbook is healthy - there'll be a short term impact on workload and turnover, but we now have more certainty on profit,' said Tidd.He added that current jobs Multiplex has that fit this model include the £300M Peterborough Hospital PFI, a £100M South London skyscraper called Castle House and the £125M Eden shopping centre in High Wycombe.'We'll work with clients who put in a fair price for the work. We won't be interested in competitive tendering anymore - our history in lump sum projects tells us the risk ratios work against us,' said Tidd. He added that bidding for projects was often an inefficient use of resources, and that Multiplex would not be bidding for any of the 2012 Olympics projects.Parent company Multiplex Group this week announced losses of £147M on Wembley this year. Its annual results show that group turnover fell from £1.33bn to £1.28bn. Pre-tax profit were up from £34M to £87Mruby.kitching@emap.com

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