AstraZeneca, its new HQ delayed and way over budget, weighs a construction partner swap: report

AstraZeneca
AstraZeneca has been planning a HQ move for several years, but the project has suffered from delays and cost overruns. (AstraZeneca)

AstraZeneca has been planning to move thousands of employees into a new headquarters for years, but its ongoing construction project has suffered from repeated delays and cost overruns. Now, the company is making moves to sideline its chief contractor to hire another, according to the Construction Enquirer. 

The drug giant is in talks to replace Skanska on the project, the publication reports. AstraZeneca declined to comment and Skanska didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. A source told the Construction Enquirer some of the delay has been caused by a high water table on the site that required “a lot of remedial work,” plus design and other issues.

The move comes after an announcement last year that the HQ and tandem R&D facility will cost more than £500 million, significantly more than the original budget of £330 million. The drugmaker unveiled its HQ plan back in 2013 and hoped to start moving in 2016.

In March, the Cambridge News reported the project isn't expected to be complete until May 2019. At the time, AstraZeneca and Skanska petitioned for longer working hours because the project suffered from an “overheated” construction market that left them unable to find enough contractors to complete the job on time, according to the report.

Even so, an AZ representative said the drugmaker plans to start a phased move-in by the end of 2018.

Aside from those issues, some excess cost could be attributed to new capabilities added to the R&D labs after the buildings were first conceived, such as robotics, a spokesperson previously told FierceBiotech.