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Westfield to let £30m Stratford work

Westfield is on the cusp of letting a further £30 million of new contracts at its major new Stratford City centre development next to the Olympic Park in east London.

The latest contracts include dry-lining, fire alarms, building management systems, security and integrated communications systems.

The Australian developer is also in discussions with contractors over plans for a new Premier Inn hotel at the site, which would be built on the podium of one of the scheme’s retail blocks.

Westfield construction director Keith Whitmore said that work at the major retail hub - which includes eight retail blocks, two of which will be tenanted by Marks and Spencer and John Lewis - was still only 75 per cent let.

Recent contract wins include a deal to supply curtain walling and cladding to sections of the centre, a four-month job that was picked up by Mildenhall-based English Architectural Glazing.

Mr Whitmore said many of the packages, like steel and cladding, had been split into smaller deals in a bid to de-risk the project.

He said: “In the current construction market, where prices have dropped quite significantly over the past 12 months, we can see the problems that overcompetitiveness creates for contractors and companies. Even
in a company with a good track record and a good balance sheet, things can go wrong.”

Although the current Westfield Stratford City programme is valued at a total of £1.45 billion, Mr Whitmore said much of the site had also been “futureproofed” to allow for the future development of commercial and hotel space.

Mr Whitmore insisted the site, between Olympic Park, Stratford Station and the athletes’ village, had suffered little impact from Britain’s recent cold snap.

While the project was shut down earlier than usual on two days at the start of January, to ensure workers could get home safely, Westfield said it had not affected its construction programme.

“By and large it has not had an impact on us,” Mr Whitmore said.

“We have a lot of internal areas the snow did not affect, so we were able to carry on throughout.”

Construction of the anchor tenancies is nearing completion in preparation for handover to M&S and John Lewis for their estimated 50-week fit-out programmes.

On the remaining six structures, contractors are in the process of installing the buildings’ m&e and fire protection as well as constructing service corridors.