McNamara failure hits £27m UK pool project

Grant Prior 14 years ago
Share

The collapse of Irish construction giant McNamara has left St Alban’s council in deep water over plans to build a new swimming pool and leisure centre at Westminster Lodge.

Councillors picked McNamara from a four-strong shortlist to build the £27m scheme just days before the firm went into receivership last week owing €1.5bn.

Rival contractors told the Enquirer that McNamara’s bid came in £5m below its nearest rival – but that figure has been denied by the council.

The fall of McNamara has caused chaos across Ireland and is the highest profile failure of the construction crisis engulfing the country.

The Westminster Lodge job was due to be one of the firm’s largest schemes in the UK.

But the collapse has embarrassed St Alban’s council who assumed the company was financially sound after being assured by a credit checking agency that McNamara was “less likely to fail than the industry average”

One contractor close to the bidding told the Enquirer: “McNamara’s quote was £5m shy of everyone else’s so the council went with them despite a lot of people knowing their problems.

“Trade contractors were refusing to price up work with them because they knew they wouldn’t get paid but the council still went ahead with the lowest quote.”

But the council dismissed the £5m figure as “wildly inaccurate” although it declined to reveal any figures because it “cannot disclose confidential commercial information relating to the bid”.

Work was due to start on the leisure centre in January and the council is now talking to rival firms who lost out in the original race.

Cllr Anthony Rowlands, portfolio holder for sport and leisure, said the council had been “prudent” in carrying out further financial checks on the company.

He said: “The council is now acting swiftly to ensure that the project to construct the new Westminster Lodge leisure centre does not slip.

“The council has already begun preparation work on the site and the construction of the leisure centre is due to commence in the New Year once another contractor has been formally appointed.”

The Westminster Lodge scheme includes provision for a 25m x eight-lane main pool, a 17m x 10m training pool and a four-court sports hall as well as a fitness gym, exercise studios and a café/bistro.

A council statement said: “Michael McNamara & Co had been informed of the Council’s decision to award them the contract for the design and construction of the new Westminster Lodge Leisure Centre, subject to (i) the Alcatel standstill period requirements and any challenges that may be brought during that period and (ii) the Council’s Head of Legal and Democratic Services being satisfied with the final contractual arrangements.

“In the light of the new information, he was not satisfied.  No contract exists between the St Albans City & District Council and Michael McNamara & Co.”

Latest news

Four men rushed to hospital after site accident

Eye-witnesses report a wall was knocked over on Edinburgh site
5 hours ago

Construction bond bombshell as major player quits market

QBE currently provides cover for 20 of the industry's 30 biggest contractors
20 hours ago

Balfour seals £192m deal for trio of Scottish substations

Work to start this summer to enhance electrical transmission in Argyll
19 hours ago

United Utilities names another 18 winners for £2.7bn water spend

Water giant cuts out large management contractors in latest spending round
2 days ago

Green light for £130m Dundee Eden project

Former gasholder site to be transformed into green house
19 hours ago

Four tower scheme in Glasgow gets green light

Go-ahead for major mixed-use scheme at Central Quay
20 hours ago

‘Green collar’ construction workers earning £134,000

Cost consultant T&T says insulation and heat pump trades earning £70 an hour in London
20 hours ago

£65m Trafford Waters resi blocks approved

X1 Developments plans over 200 homes in 13- and 8-storey blocks
19 hours ago

Over 100 firms win £1.5bn ICN housing framework

Great Places Housing Group names key partners for new homes programme
2 days ago

Steelwork firm went down owing £4.5m to suppliers

Subcontractors left holding unpaid invoices from SH Structures
2 days ago

Scottish civils firm to buy stake in piling specialist

Advance Construction in talks for 25% stake in Northern Piling Ltd
2 days ago

RSK secures £500m for fresh acquisitions spree

Acquisitive group aims to buy another 200 businesses by 2030
2 days ago

Beal Homes gets green light for £105m Humber scheme

Work to start on more than 500 homes in North East Lincolnshire
2 days ago

RED wins £20m East London office refurb

Grade II listed Victorian building to be upgraded to Cat A offices
2 days ago

Employee-owned Neilcott staff share £250,000 payout

Employee-owned building contractor sales jump 38% to £139m
3 days ago

Geoffrey Osborne supply chain hit for £26m

More than 500 suppliers and subcontractors left holding unpaid bills
6 days ago

Race for £800m South West Wales framework

Up to 16 firms face fight to renew spots on regional contractors framework
3 days ago

SME contractors agree 4% pay rise for site workers

Workers will also get an extra day of holiday
6 days ago

South East expansion paying off for Meldrum Group

Turnover up to £55m as North East based contractor expands national coverage
3 days ago

Wates boosts paternity leave to 12 weeks

Latest leave benefits apply from first day of working for contractor
3 days ago

Taylor Wimpey chief honoured with CBE

Jennie Daly recognised in King's Birthday honours
5 days ago

Labour to mothball £320m A27 job to fix potholes

Manifesto confirms Arundel Bypass canned as "poor value for money"
6 days ago

Lendlease’s £1.9bn Smithfield Birmingham scheme approved

Initial work to start later this year despite questions over Lendlease's degree of involvement
6 days ago

Crest Nicholson rejects £650m Bellway bid

Second Bellway approach rebuffed
6 days ago

Hill submits £800m East London estate rebuild plan

Over 1,900 homes to be built in five phase at Teviot Estate in Poplar
7 days ago

Plan approved for 8,500-seat Edinburgh indoor arena

Construction expected to start next year once a contractor is appointed
6 days ago

Statom starts on £25m Bristol Airport precast car park

Major work package on transport upgrade being overseen by Griffiths Farrans JV
7 days ago

Build problems plunge Crest Nicholson to a £31m loss

House builder unearths more defects on completed sites
7 days ago

Rebooted Amey lifts contract win rate to 1 in 3 bids

Amey chief says firm exceeded expectations in first year under new owners
7 days ago

BAM Nuttall fined £2.3m after worker drowned

Court hears how series of safety failures led to tragedy
1 week ago

Contractor services