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Roger Madelin tells Construction News a contractor panel will be picked for Canada Water

British Land will look to appoint a contractor panel for its 19 ha Canada Water scheme, similar to Argent’s at King’s Cross. 

Roger Madelin, who left Argent after 29 years to head up the Canada Water scheme, told the CN Developer Forum that a panel would be appointed for construction at the site.

Argent primarily uses a three-contractor panel for its construction programmes comprising Bam Construct, Carillion and Kier.

Asked whether he would use the same model, Mr Madelin said: “Yes is the simple answer. We feel at British Land, with Broadgate, there can be a bigger commitment over a period of time… we do need to get very much closer to contractors and the supply chain. 

“My biggest disappointment at King’s Cross – and on the one hand it was an amazing time to come out of 2008 and be able to deliver that first phase with shareholder equity – but it wasn’t possible to be able to commit to those tier one contractors exactly what was going to happen and when. 

“The benefits of working closely with contractors and their management, making sure you don’t make the same mistake twice, making sure you’re happy with what people did last time and setting out how to do it better… a lot of that happened but it could have happened a lot better if we had had the balance sheet and the foresight to have been able to say to each of those contractors, ‘Next year you will do £200m of construction’.”

The developer’s Canada Water site includes Surrey Quays Shopping Centre and Harmsworth Quays, the former Daily Mail General Trust printing works.

Combined, the sites have the potential to include around 5.5m sq ft of office, retail, residential, leisure, educational and community space.

Mr Madelin said he was confident British Land could provide that foresight for contractors due to the group’s financial muscle, and pointed to Argent’s Brindley Place development in Birmingham as an example of having a secured pipeline of work for contractors.

He said: “I am [confident] because British Land has the balance sheet, it is a long-term investor. Canada Water has 3,500 homes and if you look at the diversity of product, we will have good underlying predictability of the quantum of construction.”


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