Bam takes Co-op Live loss ‘on the chin’

Bam Construction has taken a big financial hit on Manchester’s Co-op Live arena after delays sent costs spiralling by £85m, the scheme’s developer has said.

Project costs have already ballooned from £365m to £400m and are expected to rise to £450m, arena boss Tim Leiweke told Manchester Evening News today (15 May).

The comments came after the arena finally opened last night at the fourth attempt, following multiple issues with the build.

Leiweke said: “The contractor lost a lot of money on this job. This job cost them more than anyone ever expected.

“Bam has been honourable, they’re finishing the project, they didn’t try to duck out here, they’ve taken it on the chin, their stock got hit, it’s a public company.”

Leiweke, chief executive of project developer Oak View Group, declined to comment on whether his firm intended to penalise Bam for the delays.

The troubled venue finally hosted its first event last night, weeks after fans were turned away from a rap concert after an HVAC unit fell during a soundcheck.

Leiweke added: “I have a great admiration for Bam and the job they’ve done here, because look at how beautiful this place is.”

A spokesperson from Co-op Live told Construction News that costs have exceeded the original £365m estimate, and that it would take some time to calculate the overrun.

Last night’s concert, by dad-rock act Elbow, marked the end of a saga of missed deadlines caused by construction issues.

In April, test events were held with a reduced capacity. However, the following week, the scheduled opening night by comedian Peter Kay was delayed and then cancelled.

The venue’s operator said that the postponement was “critical to ensure we have a consistent total power supply to our fully electric sustainable venue, the completion of which is a few days behind”.

A joint statement by emergency services said that outstanding work included the emergency services communication system, some remaining internal security systems, and fire safety measures.

On 1 May, a revised planned opening night by Boogie Wit Da Hoodie was called off at the last minute after part of a heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) unit separated from the ductwork and fell from a gantry.

Checks carried out afterwards concluded that a one-off manufacturing problem with a nozzle was to blame.

CN revealed that a separate problem with ductwork had been uncovered during acoustic tests the previous month.

Wates-owned SES Engineering Services delivered the project’s mechanical and electrical works, but a source close to the project said the firm was not responsible for the delays.

Bam Construction declined to comment when contacted by CN.

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