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Cheesegrater subbie Severfield in second major bolt failure

The subcontractor responsible for defective bolts on the iconic Cheesegrater development has run into trouble on another high-profile London scheme.

Steel specialist Severfield is having to replace a number of bolts on the £650m US Embassy project in Nine Elms, after installing the wrong ones, Construction News understands.

The complex job is being delivered by Sir Robert McAlpine, which was named as the main contractor in April 2012 along with US firm BL Harbert.

However, it is understood that the bolts were supplied by a different company.

The firm confirmed that “some” bolts were being replaced on the project but said this would not affect the overall project schedule “at all”.

Severfield declined to comment.

The news comes nine months after three out of the 3,000 mega-bolts fitted by Severfield on the Leadenhall Building fractured, with part of one falling to the ground.

The subcontractor revealed in June that the cost of replacing all 3,000 bolts would be up to £6m.

However, Severfield chief executive Ian Lawson said at the time that discussions between the building’s project teams have so far failed to reach agreement on where the liability for the costs should lie.

It is thought that the replacement of bolts on the US Embassy building will not delay delivery, although sources close to the project told Construction News the scheme had already suffered delays due to “design issues”.

The project will see the US embassy relocated from its home of 50 years in Grosvenor Square to the new site in the London borough of Wandsworth.

The 12-storey building will house 1,000 staff and cover 45,000 sq m.

Sir Robert McAlpine recently made the headlines after it posted a pre-tax loss of £89.7m for 2013/14, citing “weaknesses” that led to project delays and cost escalations.

It said 2014 had been a challenging year and added that the “significant deterioration” in its performance was the result of a number of poorly performing contracts, which incurred considerable losses.

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