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Mace takes reins at Terminal Five

Airport operator calls in troubleshooting production team as flagship project gathers pace

AIRPORT operator BAA has appointed troubleshooter Mace to oversee the construction of the £2.7 billion Terminal Five scheme at Heathrow.

Mace will manage construction of the core terminal building, the 82 m-high air traffic control tower and the first satellite building.

The firm will work closely alongside the construction teams, led by Laing O'Rourke on the civils and structure and Amec on the mechanical and electrical fit-out.

Although Mace is a framework contractor for BAA, the firm was not originally on board the T5 project team. It is understood its presence on site started to increase at the start of the year and has now grown to a team of 23 personnel as the project enters a critical phase.

Mace director Gareth Lewis said: 'We are now helping to assist with the cohesion and integration of the design and construction processes as the project gathers momentum.'

A BAA spokeswoman said: 'Mace has been appointed to provide production leadership and production integration services on Terminal 5. It will work predominantly within the buildings team, alongside Laing O'Rourke.

'Mace has extensive experience of working with BAA in integrated team environments and this is a logical development as the T5 buildings enter into their production stage.'

One insider said: 'The feeling was that BAA's management team needed to grow and, rather than go out to the market and recruit, it was easier to bring in a ready-made team from Mace.'

But contractors said the move had added a layer of confusion as Mace demanded redesigns and revaluations, causing delays.

A source at one contractor said: 'We have been told to revisit our designs and work up prices again for various elements of the buildings, which is setting back the timetable.'

Another source said: 'There has been a lot of tightening up taking place since their arrival and it has caused an element of confusion.'

Mace made its name in the 1990s in the construction management market but a recent downturn has forced it to move into other construction-related disciplines.

The T5 project has recently been rocked by a series of pay and industrial relations disputes as electricians and construction workers battle it out for the biggest wage deals.