Third time lucky for delayed Hyde pool extension

Tameside Council has been forced to tender the £3.5m project for the third time with two contractors pulling out of bidding due to cost increases and programme delays.

The long-running project was first approved in July 2017 with a budget of £3.1m, with the council proposing to extend the existing Active Hyde leisure centre off Walker Lane.

The existing octagonal building covers around 22,500 sq ft; an extension on an adjacent plot of land would link to the existing building via the changing facilities and would provide an additional 13,300 sq ft of space featuring a 25m, six-lane swimming pool, a new plant room, and larger changing facilities.

However, the council’s attempts to procure a contractor for the scheme have been fraught with issues; a contractor was picked in 2018 but pulled out of the bidding in August the same year.

Bidders at the time included Strategic Team Group, which has seen been bought by Galliford Try. Other bidders that have since been linked to the project are ISG and Robertson.

Following the exit of the contractor, an increase in the budget of £280,000 was approved to cover revisiting of the original tenders for the project.

Another contractor was then chosen, but according to the council, this contractor pulled out “days before the signing” of contracts in December.

According to the council, the contractor said: “The construction supply chain in the North West is extremely busy which means that sub-contractors for things like groundworks, steel and other trades can pick and choose their contracts.

“The surplus of work means that sub-contractors can inflate their quotes and can dictate start and completion dates impacting on programme.”

The council added: “The risk imposed by likely post contract cost increases and programme delays were too great for the main contractor in this instance and as a consequence they withdrew their interest in the scheme.”

As a result, the council is being forced to tender the scheme for the third time with further cost increases on the horizon due to “ongoing delays and procurement issues”. The bidders are also being asked to review the contract documentation for the job which the council said “may lead to further delay” if the contractors seek any amendments.

A final cost has not yet been agreed but the project’s budget is now approaching £3.5m, around £400,000 than originally agreed. The scheme’s original start date was May 2018.

Pozzoni is the architect.

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