Building projects that have gone hideously over budget

For all construction projects, it isn’t just the completion of the work which marks a great achievement, it is knowing that the project was completed on-time and within the budget. But, for many of the UK’s largest construction projects sticking to budget hasn’t always been easy to do.

It is a well-known issue within the construction industry, with many projects often costing much more than originally planned. We take a look at the most high-profile projects which have gone hideously over budget.

1) Olympic Stadium

The Olympic Stadium was originally estimated to cost £280m, but by the time the 2012 Olympics got underway, the price tag had risen to £429m. It was then announced in 2015 that the overall bill for Stratford’s Olympic Stadium had soared to over £700m, for converting the stadium into a suitable base for football and athletics. Although West Ham United contributed £15m towards the conversion, the cost is still much higher than the original estimate of £154m.

2) The Shard

The Shard was completed in 2013 and is an iconic feature of the London skyline, but sadly following its completion it quickly became known as the world’s tallest white elephant, as many floors were left empty. As the tallest building in the European Union, high prices and poor location have kept many businesses from setting up in the landmark building. The Shard was expected to cost no more than £350 million to build, but figures on completion showed the total construction cost to be £435m.

3) Edinburgh Trams

The project was completed in 2014, five years behind schedule and was described by the ex-chairman of Transport Edinburgh as “hell on wheels”. The council originally budgeted £545m, but the final figures released in 2017 by the enquiry council showed that up until the point of the first trams running on the route it had already cost £776m.

4) HS2

The high-speed train which will connect London to Birmingham is still in development but is already coming in way over budget. The first phase of the project was estimated to cost £24bn, but Labour peer Tony Berkeley has put the costs of this initial phase at £51.25bn. The TaxPayers Alliance is warning that costs could top £90bn upon completion.

5) BBC Headquarters

It is hard to imagine how a refurbishment of an existing building could be so over-budget, but the BBC overspent by £110 million when refurbishing Broadcasting House. The project was originally estimated to cost £991 million and be finished by the end of December 2008, however, it took another six years to complete.

6) Wembley Stadium

You may remember the news stories surrounding the Wembley Stadium cost in 2007, which famously saw £1m spent on photocopying alone. The original planned cost was £757m, but a variety of issues relating to the design and groundworks saw the costs climb to approximately £1bn.

During the course of every construction project, there are potential issues which may arise, leading to unexpected increases in costs. To help manage the risks involved in a project we are able to provide a variety of insurance products, from commercial insurance to public liability insurance. To find out more about the policies we provide, what is included and how they will help your construction project please contact our expert team.