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Carillion's £75m Manchester Uni job handed to Vinci

Vinci has been appointed on a £74m contract to complete Carillion’s work on the Fallowfield campus development for Manchester University.

Carillion was awarded the contract, originally valued at £75m, in August last year to construct the 1,122-bedroom halls of residence, having been made the preferred bidder in April 2017.

Site preparation and groundworks were under way when the contractor collapsed on 15 January.

Due to the fixed completion date in time for the new academic year in September 2019, the university asked the original bidders to submit proposals to complete the scheme instead of starting a new tender process.

The university said that a new tender process would have also taken longer than the original procurement because of the complexity created by the works having already started on site.

It added that further delay would increase the health and safety risk to the public, particularly given the proximity of a high school to the site.

Two out of three original bidders responded to the request for proposals and Vinci was awarded a £74m contract to complete the job.

The contract notice said: “This is an exceptional situation where extreme urgency has been brought about by events unforeseeable and not attributable by the university, making it impossible for the university to conduct a regulated procedure within prescribed time limits due to the critical nature of the works both in terms of health and safety and required delivery date of accommodation.”

Works had an original completion date of 8 July 2019, allowing the university time to complete fit-out works before students arrived on 9 September.

The University of Manchester said the original completion date was no longer viable, but Vinci will “substantially complete” the development by 26 August 2019, leaving a two-week window for the fit-out to be completed.

If the works are not substantially completed by the deadline then an existing halls of residence, Oak House, that was due to be demolished for a future phase, will remain open.

However, the university said that in this scenario, the cost of continuing with Oak House and the subsequent impact on delivering future phases not yet tendered would have a “significant adverse effect on the university’s income and reputation”.

Work on the Fallowfield project stopped after the contractor went into liquidation on 15 January, and the site was handed back to the university on 5 February when the official receiver terminated the contract.

Vinci was appointed on the 9 February and the contract award is currently in a 10-day standstill period.

A university spokesperson confirmed to Construction News: “The university is set to appoint a new contractor, Vinci Construction, to recommence works on the Fallowfield development and that work is set to commence by the end of February.”

Vinci has been contacted for comment.

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