Council wins legal battle over Civic Hall building costs

Wolverhampton City Council has won a legal battle against a contractor, after a dispute over the increased costs of its civic hall refurbishment.

Willmott Dixon said it experienced delays of 73 weeks, rather than the 45 weeks recognised by the council and was looking to claim compensation. It came on to the project in 2019 after contractor Shaylor Group collapsed.

The firm had sought a 100% uplift on “working area overhead” costs, but the overhead was denied by the adjudicator.

The adjudicator did rule that delays of 45.5 weeks should be recognised, due to an extra cost the council said was within its budget.

The £48m project was handed over to promoter AEG Presents to finish the job. The venue which is now called The Halls Wolverhampton, is set to open in June.

Committee chair Craig Collingswood (Lab) said: “This clearly demonstrates the council’s ongoing commitment to ensuring the best value for money and protecting the public purse. It is great that the completion of the refurbishment will take place within the agreed current budget.”

A Willmott Dixon spokesperson said, “When the previous contractor on the Civic Halls project went into administration, we were invited to step in and take forward the venue’s complex refurbishment. 

“Our team of specialists have worked very hard to help get the project to a point where the Wolves Civic will open this summer as a fantastic entertainment and cultural venue that, as well as attracting some of the world’s most popular artists, will also drive footfall and economic growth in the heart of Wolverhampton. 

“While we are disappointed by the recent adjudication opinion, we remain incredibly proud of what we have delivered and the lasting legacy it will provide to the future of Wolverhampton.  We will of course continue seek an equitable outcome with our customer.”

Willmott Dixon is able to appeal to the High Court.

Click here to sign up to receive our new South West business news...