AstraZeneca petitions for longer construction hours at long-delayed HQ

CG image of AstraZeneca's HQ
AstraZeneca's new HQ has taken longer and cost more than the company initially expected. (AstraZeneca)

AstraZeneca’s in-the-works Cambridge, U.K., headquarters is already behind schedule, and now, construction may drag on through the middle of next year.

The project now won’t be wrapped until next May, Cambridge News reports, though the company’s still planning to move its employees in before this year draws to a close.

“There will be different science groups moving in and being operational from day one,” a spokeswoman told the publication, adding that “the term ‘completion’ means a lot of different things. We will be occupying the building and it will be a phased process.”

In the meantime, the company has put forth proposals to extend construction working hours in order to speed along the process. If they pass, builders could be working more than 25 extra hours per week.

The application for extended working hours reflects the fact that "works are now focusing on the interiors of the build and can be conducted within the weather-tight envelope of the building. This application for extended working hours reflects the type of work that can now be accelerated on site without disruption to neighboring buildings and communities," an AZ spokeswoman said via email.

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Why the delay to the hub in the first place? According to the report, the “'overheated’ construction market and the inability to gain enough contractors to enable the construction timetable to be met” had something to do with it.

The project has also gone over budget. Last April, the company said it would spend £170 million ($236 million) more than it originally planned on the site, which includes an R&D center. As a spokeswoman told FierceBiotech at the time, though, some of that extra spend was due to the company “bringing more capability to the new building than originally planned,” including “increased investment in new technologies and robotics equipment.”

AZ first unveiled plans to move to Cambridge back in 2013, with hopes of completing the switch by 2016.