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Paddington Square: Shortlists revealed for £825m Sellar scheme

Two shortlists for Sellar’s £825m Renzo Piano-designed Paddington Square development have been revealed to Construction News.

Sellar Property construction director Paul Flexney-Briscoe told CN that Mace, Multiplex and Sir Robert McAlpine were competing to be named main contractor on the central London scheme.

A decision on the winner will be made “before Christmas”, he added.

Mr Flexney-Briscoe also revealed to CN that Erith, Getjar, J Coffey and Keltbray were on the shortlist for the £50m piling and basement works.

The decision on this package will be made in the middle of January, with the job starting in mid-February.

For the main contractor role, the construction boss said Mace, Multiplex and Sir Robert McAlpine had been chosen from an initial list that also featured Laing O’Rourke, Lendlease and Skanska.

He revealed that Lendlease and Skanska dropped out during the course of the bidding, with Laing O’Rourke missing out when the bids were scored.

Mr Flexney-Briscoe told CN he had met with all the firms on the longlist and that these discussions resulted in Sellar running a shorter procurement process, with only three contractors rather than six.

He said: “I spoke to them in a very straightforward manner: I wanted to know if they were too busy, because we want someone that is completely focused on this job.

“We were looking for someone with the right level of experience and who knew how to deal with this type of risk.”

Sellar’s construction boss also said he wanted the winning contractor to make a “reasonable” profit on the scheme.

“We as a developer look that [the contractor] makes a reasonable margin,” he said.

“We think that it’s between 5-6 per cent, so if someone came in at 2-3 per cent, we’d be wary of that. We want them to make a reasonable return.

“There’s nothing like this project in London. The contractor is not there to make it cheaper; we’re looking for a high level of finish.”

When asked by CN about Brexit, Mr Flexney-Briscoe said discussions had taken place with bidders regarding liability caps and that “the general feedback is that people are wary”.

However, he pointed out that the contract would not be fully agreed until August next year, allowing for adjustment to market conditions following Britian’s departure from the EU.

The 14-storey Paddington Square development was granted planning approval in December 2016 by Westminster Council.

The High Court rejected a legal challenge from heritage campaigners trying to block the scheme in November last year.

Sellar’s plans feature a 360,000 sq ft office building, 75,000 sq ft of retail and commercial space and a 0.5 ha public square.

The scheme will also see a £65m investment in the Bakerloo line station, with a new ticket hall at Paddington planned as part of the project.

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