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Everyone's a loser at Wembley stadium

AGENDA - COMMENT

THE WEMBLEY Stadium project has descended into a sorry, drawn-out saga.

Whichever way it is spun, the football-loving public will inevitably see it as another example of the construction industry scoring an own goal.

Sadly this perception is not that far from the truth, since wherever you look there are only losers to be found at Wembley.

The FA failed to get a world-class national stadium in time for the cup final.

Main contractor Multiplex's dream of showcasing Australian contracting skills at Wembley have faded into a lacklustre performance, whose losses soar by the day.

Subcontractors have been substituted, or collapsed on the job, and to top it all one of the biggest construction legal battles of recent years is about to kick off in the High Court.

Can it get any worse? Who knows what extra time will bring at Wembley?

But before all concerned hastily put this nightmare behind them, it is worth drawing a salutary lesson f rom the exper ience.

If Cardiff Millennium Stadium failed to do it, then the Wembley debacle must surely dispel the misguided belief that a fixed-price, lump-sum contract guarantees a major stadium project will be delivered on time and to budget.

The fiasco must send a shiver down the collective spine of the Olympic Delivery Authority, but there are other ways of procuring flagship projects, as has been proved elsewhere.

Blindly sticking with a contracting approach that has failed time and time again will deter all sensible contractors from bidding for the Olympic stadium, no matter how prestigious the job is.