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U.N. selects Swedish firm to manage building's renovation

U.N. selects Swedish firm to manage building's renovation

The United Nations signed a contract on Friday with Swedish construction group Skanska to manage the much-delayed US$1 billion renovation of its New York headquarters.
The U.N. Capital Master Plan has been in the pipeline since 1995 but no work has started and the project is not expected to be completed until 2014. Original cost estimates have soared and the project has drawn criticism over delays and waste.
Alicia Barcena, the U.N. undersecretary-general for management, told a news conference a contract had been signed on Friday with Skanska for the preconstruction phase.
The initial value of the contract with Skanska's U.S. subsidiary is US$7 million but the eventual value of the work is around US$1 billion, she said.
The U.N. Capital Master Plan is a US$1.88 billion project to modernize the famous skyscraper overlooking Manhattan's East River and other buildings in the complex.
About 1,000 staff members will be moved out into other facilities during the four-phase refurbishment, which will cover 10 floors at a time.
The total of US$1.88 billion includes the cost of temporary relocation and other non-construction items.
The blue-tinted glass and steel 39-story structure, whose original architects included France's Le Corbusier, was completed in 1950 and has been increasingly showing its age.
It has water dripping through its roof, toxic asbestos lining its ceiling tiles, no sprinklers in case of fire and erratic heating and cooling systems.
Barcena said environmental concerns had been an factor in the choice of contractor, and the U.N. ethics office had also done extensive research on bidders to ensure they met high standards on labor and business practices worldwide.
She said her aim was "to really build a role model for environmental buildings."
"This is a very significant contract by any standard," Barcena said. "The signing of this agreement is a major step in making the U.N. headquarters a safer, healthier, more secure, more energy efficient place for all of us who work here."


Updated : 2021-10-16 13:50 GMT+08:00