Busway contractors BAM Nuttall will be stripped of a further £238,000 for late delivery by Cambridgeshire County Council as the Contractor has confirmed it will not deliver the Busway before shutting down for Christmas. In a public statement, the contractor stated the whole route would be complete before Christmas, but BAM Nuttall’s site team have said today they will not hit the date they set. So far only eleven out of 44 mandatory construction certificates for the southern section, that guarantee the works, have been submitted and the contractor is way behind the schedule they set themselves for providing the certificates. Almost £14,000 a day will continue to be deducted from BAM Nuttall for late delivery of the project during the festive break on top of almost £9 million that has already been deducted.
Councillors approved plans to bring in new contractors to fix some of the defects once the route has been handed over and the contractor permitted their contracted 28 days to finish any outstanding tasks. All six defects are still outstanding despite a statement by BAM Nuttall ‘s Chief Executive in April saying the firm would fix the problems months ago. The Council plans to install an expansion joint on the River Great Ouse viaduct that was omitted by BAM Nuttall, adjust the levels of the St Ives Park and Ride car park so it drains properly and rain water does not pond as well as raise sections of the flooded cycleway as it is impassable for more than half the year. BAM Nuttall will be liable for the Council’s costs which will be deducted from the 5% of the contract value that is being held back from BAM Nuttall (called retention) that should be paid back to BAM Nuttall after completion.
The Council and bus operators have consistently stated they both want the defects that would cause the Busway to close again once it is open rectified before passenger services begin. When BAM Nuttall finish the job and complete all the necessary construction certificates the independent Project Manager has 21 days to certify the work as complete. BAM Nuttall will then have 28 days under the terms of the contract to correct any defects the Project Manager notifies them of – including the six between St Ives and Cambridge.
After this period the Council can step in with new contractors and fix the jobs as planned. Work on the cycleway will not hold up the opening of the Busway but will be carried out after the other defects as the flooded sections between Swavesey and St Ives must dry out first. Cambridgeshire residents have sadly become very accustomed to BAM Nuttall failing to hit the dates they have set for themselves, but the fact the contractor will not have the work done by Christmas will not be a big surprise to most as Council officers have said publically that they doubted this for some time.
What is promising is the fact the Council now has plans firmly in place to correct the problems that have held up the opening of the Busway between St Ives and Cambridge. By having new contractors ready to go we will try and make sure there are no further unnecessary delays, but until the route is handed over by BAM Nuttall we are very much in their hands. Cambridgeshire deserves the very best and the costs of correcting BAM Nuttall’s defective works will be deducted from the contractor and not paid for by taxpayers.