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New blood sought to end Bath Spa saga

Troubleshooter seeks specialists to complete repairs on time

PROJECT bosses on the troubled Bath Spa scheme are racing to get a team of specialists on board to finish key areas of the site by next Easter.

Bath and North East Somerset Council took back control of the project just over a month ago after booting off main contractor Mowlem following a number of construction problems.

Mowlem insisted it quit the project and has described the council's action as unlawful.

Troubleshooter Capita Symonds was appointed to carry out a conditions survey and get the job back on track.

Capita will keep half of the original 12 trade contractors on board and is now looking to make up the numbers by appointing more specialists to complete the work. Project director John Betty said: 'We are in discussions with a number of firms at the moment and decisions should be made within the next week.'

Up to 12 new packages are being put together to divide up the work, which will range from M&E improvements and steel work to painting, cleaning and snagging.

The biggest job will be repairing the floors, which will all have to be replaced.

Cracks appeared in the floors surrounding the pool areas and the steam room on the second floor.

Councillor Nicole O'Flaherty said: 'The floors were leaking.The insulation membrane was not put in as well as it should have been.'

The same type of granite tiles have been reordered and will be used with a different sealant product.

Mr Betty, who joined the project in January, said he was expecting the majority of building works to be completed by December.

Ms O'Flaherty said: 'Now we are in control of the building I am much more confident that we are on track and that targets will be met.'

The flagship scheme, which promised to revamp the famed ancient thermal spa, is now four years behind schedule.

The original three-year deal, valued at £11 million, is already two years late and has spiralled to more than three times its original price tag at £35.5 million.

Bath council said it could increase by a further £2 million by the time the project is complete.