Kier pool job cost swells after archaeological find

A major archaeological discovery last year at a Kier construction project has raised the cost of the job by nearly 50 per cent.

The project to demolish and then rebuild Abbey Fields Swimming Pool in Kenilworth, Warwickshire, was set to cost £26.8m when Kier scooped the project back in October 2021.

But the price tag has now risen to £39.4m, which Kier blamed on “massive delays” caused by medieval monastic archaeological finds on the site.

“Following demolition of the swimming pool and more detailed ground investigations, an extensive amount of historic remains were identified on site,” the contractor said yesterday (14 May) in a statement.

Demolition contractor AR Demolition found the artefacts after it completed its work at the site.

The artefacts had to be carefully excavated and then recovered from the site, Kier said.

The finds were “of such a scale and quality, that it has come as a surprise to all”, Warwick District Council said in a July 2023 statement.

Kier said yesterday, however, that there was now a low “potential for historic remains” at the site because a swimming pool had already existed there for years.

“This discovery caused massive delays in the start of the project after the main contractor had already begun on site and resulted in compensation events being raised by the contractor to cover the delay,” Kier added.

Kier also had to change the project’s design specifications for the groundworks, which pushed up the costs and meant it had to appoint “additional specialist subcontractors”.

The tier one contractor returned on site in March and is now doing preparation work for the two-year build project, according to Kenilworth Town Council.

Kier Construction regional director for Eastern and Midlands Tony Shenton said: “Following close collaboration with the council, we have agreed a design for the Abbey Fields swimming pool project which protects the artefacts found on site.

“We look forward to creating this community asset and providing residents with high-quality leisure facilities that will be enjoyed for generations to come”.

Construction News approached Kier for further comment.

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