Council to finish Buckingham Group leisure centre job

A London council has announced it will finish building a leisure centre after the original contractor collapsed last year.

Work stopped on the Platinum Jubilee Leisure Centre (CGI pictured) in West Drayton, west London, when the £665m-turnover Buckingham Group entered administration.

Hillingdon Council said it would now “directly manage the delivery” of the scheme. The leisure centre will open a year later than originally planned, and cost at least £9.1m more than the initial estimate.

The council appointed consultancy Press & Starkey for £148,000 to advise its in-house team on project management and mechanical and electrical (M&E) monitoring.

Construction News understands some of the original subcontractors will continue to work on the project.

Buckingham Group started working on site in February 2022 and had completed the frame by May 2023, four months before the business went under. The council now expects the project to complete in summer 2025, a year later than the initial estimate of this summer

The project was first expected to cost £31.9m, but is now costing at least £9.1m extra. The council approved the additional capital to avoid further cost increases due to inflation, as well as to limit damage to the existing structure as a result of delays, according to council documents.

External brickwork and preparations to fit weather-tight windows have been finished. M&E works, plastering, painting and tiling will be the next phases of the build, alongside the building of a car park, landscaping and other external works.

The leisure centre will comprise a 25-metre swimming pool, training pool, splash zone, gym and health suite, soft-play area, rooftop football pitch, youth and community hub, and a cafe and terrace.

Councillor Jonathan Bianco, cabinet member for property, highways and transport, said: “We are continuing to make significant progress on site and working hard to complete it as quickly and efficiently as possible.”

When it stopped trading last August, Buckingham Group was the largest contractor to go under since Carillion five years earlier. The firm said at the time that it had incurred heavy losses on three stadium schemes and an earthworks project in Coventry. It also pointed to inflation and “other challenges in the sports and leisure division” for its financial problems.

The contractor entered administration a few weeks later, in early September, resulting in 500 staff redundancies.

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