Work to resume on stalled UU scheme after sub-contractors' payment deal

Work at the Ulster University campus in Belfast, stalled from the end of February, is set to resume next week. Picture: Mal McCann
Gary McDonald Business Editor

CONSTRUCTION work is set to resume next week on the long-delayed multi-million pound Ulster University Belfast campus.

It came after an apparent agreement was reached last night with the Lagan Construction administrators KPMG which enables payments to be made to the building firm's subcontractors.

That is understood to have unlocked the troubled scheme for now and will enable workers from Portuguese firm Somague to get back on site as early as next Monday.

Work on the £250 million scheme stalled at the end of February when Lagan, joint venture partners with Somague, put a number of its companies into administration.

Detailed discussions have been talking place ever since, and last night a joint statement from Ulster University and Somague confirmed: "An agreement has now been reached with the administrator of Lagan Construction, which enables payments to be made to subcontractors.

"Somague has confirmed plans are under way to resume building works on site as soon as possible.

"Ulster University and Somague will continue to work together in partnership to deliver the iconic new campus development."

No-one from accountancy firm KPMG was available for comment.

The UU venture – the largest construction of its kind in the north – was originally due to complete in time for the September 2018 intake of students.

But a series of infrastructural and contractual difficulties has blighted the scheme, which is set to transform the old art college campus on York Street and transfer the Jordanstown courses into Belfast, bumping up student numbers in the city from 2,000 to 15,000.

It is now thought the campus won't open until 2021 at the earliest.

The first signs of a breakthrough into the stalled process came at the end of last week when health and safety officials arrived to carry out checks on the site.

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