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Cube client goes it alone and offers staff profit share

Fledgling BuildAbility to give 60 per cent of profits on Birmingham job to employees

The client on the £75 million Cube development in Birmingham has promised its staff 60 per cent of the profits to ensure the job gets built.

Birmingham Development Company set up a construction arm, BuildAbility, after failing to find a contractor to build the 23-storey scheme.

The Cube, which will include a hotel, office, apartments, designer retail stores and a rooftop restaurant, had been due to be built by Taylor Woodrow but the firm pulled out last year after failing to agree a price.

Manchester contractor Ocon also expressed interest in the work, which is the final phase of the Mailbox development, but that also came to nothing.

Former Ocon employees John Easton and Andy Ashley have joined BuildAbility’s team to co-ordinate construction on all BDC’s projects. Senior project manager Paul Greaves joined from Wates this summer and heads the construction team.

BDC co-founder Alan Chatham said: “Everybody from the project manager to the tea boy will share 60 per cent of the profit the company makes on the Cube. This is enshrined in the company memorandum and employees’ contracts. If anyone leaves the project prior to completion they lose their rights to their share.”

BuildAbility was set up in the summer after BDC became disillusioned with contractors pricing big projects.

Mr Chatham said: “Looking at building the Cube we found the construction market far too confrontational, so rather than fight all the way through to the end we thought it would be better for us to start our own construction company.

“We started to realise most construction companies large enough to build the project were focused on London. Any £75 million job outside London, they’re not so interested or want a big premium to do it.”

BuildAbility is looking to recruit another 10 senior staff and a further 15 junior positions. Throughout the life of the scheme BuildAbility expects to employ directly or indirectly up to 1,000 workers.

Excavation work is currently being carried out with construction due to start next March. The Cube is due to be completed in spring 2010.

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