Monday 21 October 2019

Firm managing Spurs' new stadium build deny claims of 'drinking and drug-taking' on site

Levy: Delays are ‘disappointing.’ Photo: PA
Levy: Delays are ‘disappointing.’ Photo: PA

Sam Wallace

Tottenham Hotspur have been hit with fresh allegations over their delayed new stadium that workers on-site have been drinking and drug-taking and that the problems with the 60,062-capacity project have in part been caused by chaotic management of a workforce that peaked at 4,000.

Industry magazine 'Construction News' levelled a range of allegations against Mace, who have managed the building of Spurs' new home which was originally scheduled to open last Saturday for the Premier League game against Liverpool.

It was alleged by one unnamed source that when the site was at capacity "there were people off their heads, drinking cans first thing in the morning before going on to site and snorting coke in the toilets".

It is alleged that Mace's role as a construction manager, with subcontractors dealing with the club rather than answering to Mace, has contributed to a lack of co-ordination on the site of the stadium, currently estimated to cost £850m (€957m).

This led to one 'Construction News' source alleging, "what should take a week normally takes a month, because of the sheer scale of it, but also because the communication is horrendous".

The club will continue to play at Wembley for the foreseeable future, a decision announced on August 13 by chairman Daniel Levy and one which required changes to the fixture list as well as the moving of the NFL game scheduled there for October 14.

At the time the club said that testing at the new stadium revealed "issues with the critical safety systems".

'Construction News' estimate that the stadium will not be ready until January, although neither Mace nor Spurs were prepared to put a time-line on its likely completion.

Levy said earlier this month that the delay was "disappointing, costly and frustrating" but that he would be "uncompromising" in his effort "to deliver something extraordinary to our fans".

Mace rejected the suggestion that the contract it had with Tottenham to manage the site and the various subcontractors was unusual and said that many of its projects work along the same lines.

Under this model the club negotiate an individual price with each of their subcontractors and the construction manager does not hold as much liability when meeting deadlines for the project.

It was alleged by 'Construction News' that in one case electrical wiring was twice installed and twice ripped out because electricians had not been told that air-conditioning that needed to be fitted first had not yet been completed.

While Mace were unable to comment on individual events on a site that has been operating for 15 months, they did indicate that occasional mistakes were inevitable on a project of this size.

The company say they have a rigorous drug-testing policy and any worker found under the influence of illegal substances would immediately be taken off the site.

They have not been informed of any drug abuse or drinking on-site and would have acted upon it had that been the case.

In a statement the company said: "Mace strongly refutes the image of our project painted by these anonymous allegations.

"The health, safety and well-being of everybody is a core value at Mace and any suggestion that our rigorous standards around best practice or drugs and alcohol had been broken would be taken extremely seriously.

"We carry out regular random drugs and alcohol testing to ensure that our rules are enforced throughout our supply chain. Any concerns about specific health and safety risks should have been flagged to Mace health and safety staff on the project."

© Daily Telegraph, London

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