Styles & Wood was originally given a £38m contract in February 2018 to fit out and refurbish the India Buildings, preparing them for use as government offices, but has been dismissed by the client after falling behind schedule.
Caddick Construction has now been brought in to finish the job in its place.
Staff from HM Revenue & Customs and other government departments were supposed to be moving in this year. The revised timetable and programme of the Category A fitout has completion scheduled for early summer 2020.
Styles & Wood issued a statement saying: “There have been significant issues giving rise to delays on India Buildings, namely the discovery of large volumes of asbestos and extensive additional ceiling works requiring specialist heritage planning permission.
“A dispute has arisen, and Styles & Wood can confirm it is no longer working on the project. We consider the termination of our contract to be wrongful and we’re currently taking advice on next steps. Styles & Wood is being supported by specialist legal and expert advisors in this respect.
“Styles & Wood was deeply committed to delivering this project. We are very disappointed that this decision has been taken. We have been working closely with all parties to overcome the issues that have been causing delays to the programme as we are very experienced in the renovation of heritage buildings and the challenges in restoring them.
“We very much hope that the renovation of this beautiful building is not put at risk by this action and that an equally experienced contractor is appointed to complete the project to the standard and timescale required.”
Caddick Construction’s programme of refurbishment across the 350,000 sq.ft of commercial space and 12 storeys includes complex remedial work, façade repairs and cleaning, as well as renewal of more than 50% of office ceilings, re-lining of the cast iron drainage system, wholesale building services replacement, ornate window refurbishments, new roofs and roof lights. Caddick will also be installing five new lifts and refurbishing eight existing lifts.
Caddick Construction senior project manager Mark Walker said: “This is a prestigious building in the heart of Liverpool that has many unique facets to its design, both internal and external. We are delighted to be coming on board for this challenging project that is anything but your run-of-the-mill refurbishment.
“We are working to quickly re-engage with the existing supply chain and are confident of a seamless handover to HMRC as existing anchor tenants early summer 2020.”
Brian Rabinowitz of client India Buildings Development Ltd said: “The works are being delivered within a very short timescale and will be completed to a very high specification; providing a modern office environment that is sensitive to this important historical building. We are looking forward to working with the Caddick team to deliver this complex.”
Principal designers on the projects are Falconer Chester Hall, with engineering works by Curtins Consulting.