02Jul92 SPAIN: MF KENT ACTS TO QUELL RUMOURS OF MECHANICAL AND ELECTRICAL PROBLEMS ON £400M BARCELONA PROJECT.
Engineering contractor M F Kent this week moved to quash rumours that it was in trouble with a large mechanical and electrical contract at the £400 million Hotel D'Arts project in Barcelona.Speculation that the contract would not be finished in time for the Olympics began when M F Kent's chairman, Gus Kearney, moved to the Spanish city to take personal control of the job.After that a further 700 workers were drafted in, taking the labour force to 2,000.Mr Kearney said this week that the Irish contractor had met its commitments. But he added that M F Kent was preparing a 'typical construction claim' to recover additional costs associated with the development.Mr Kearney said: 'We have completed our work in Barcelona on schedule together with the help of our Irish and United Kingdom subcontractors.'They are commended and have all been paid as agreed.'Rumours within the industry suggested M F Kent was itself subject to a claim relating to the project.UK managing director Jim Steele said: 'The construction industry rumour mill has been working overtime.'As far as I or anybody else at M F Kent is aware there is no claim against us either outstanding or pending.'A spokeswoman for developer Hovisa, which is led by Gooch Ware Travelstead, said part of the hotel would be open in time for the Olympics.Problems started at the 150,000 sq m hotel and office complex when the scale of the project was altered. Consequently M F Kent's initial contact is understood to have risen from about £15 million to £35 million.Many of the problems are believed to stem from the fast-track construction method where the project is contracted and developed at the same time.Another subcontractor, Nottinghamshire drylining specialist Baris, has already issued a writ for about £3 million against the developer. The action in the Spanish courts also involves construction manager Bovis.