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News » UK » Cambridgeshire ready to give up on BAM Nuttall » published 08/12/2010

Cambridgeshire ready to give up on BAM Nuttall

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Cambridgeshire County Council is planning to bring in new contractors to correct what it calls defective work on its guided busway project by main contractor BAM Nuttall.

Since February 2009 the council has been deducting almost £14,000 a day from BAM Nuttall for late delivery – a total that is expected to pass £9m by the time BAM Nuttall completes the project, the council said.

The council has identified six problem areas, where issues include flooding and failure to install an expansion joint on a viaduct that was in BAM Nuttall’s original design proposal.

BAM Nuttall has pledged to finish the job but denies the works are defective.

BAM Nuttall was appointed main contractor on the £116m scheme in 2005. The Cambridgeshire Guided Busway runs 25 miles between Cambridge and St Iveswith guided sections of just over 16 miles, making it the world’s longest guided busway, according to the council.

Roy Pegram, the council’s cabinet member for growth, infrastructure and strategic planning, said: “The council has always promised to deliver a Busway that is high quality and that’s exactly what we plan to do. Numerous delays by BAM Nuttall have been infuriating for residents, businesses and the council but the plans we have to correct the necessary defects will make sure the final jobs can move ahead at speed once the route is handed over by BAM Nuttall. It is frustrating that BAM Nuttall has not chosen to make good on their earlier promises and correct all the problems, but if, as we expect, we have to put the defects right BAM Nuttall will be charged for the costs and not taxpayers.

“Councillors and officers working on the project have said for some time that we would all be pleasantly surprised if the contractor finished construction and completed the documentation that acts as a guarantee for the work before Christmas but as expected they are unlikely to hit the date.”

The six issues identified by the council are:

  • Maintenance track – some areas of the track have been built at too low level which means rain water has collected and the maintenance track is flooded. These areas of the track need to be raised without affecting the flood balance in the area.
  • Rubber tyres – An acceptable Fire Risk Assessment and Fire Safety Report is required by the county council to show the tyres are suitable to be used to help drain The Busway track.
  • Beam expansion gaps – The county council requires the contractor to show that the gaps between the beams will allow for expansion of the beams during periods of hot weather while giving a smooth ride for passengers.
  • Foundations – The county council requires the contractor to show that the use of shallow pad foundations on some short sections of track where deeper piled foundations were originally planned is appropriate. The county council requires calculations to show the track will not move over time reducing the ride quality.
  • St Ives Park & Ride car park – the car park has been built with less than the specified gradient and water is ponding on the surface of the car park.
  • River Great Ouse Viaduct – rain water is leaking through an unsealed expansion joint onto the steel below. If this is not fixed now, council taxpayers will have to pick up future bills for additional maintenance costs.

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This article was published on 08/12/2010 (last updated on 08/12/2010).

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