Market Square Toilets - an update
Bishop’s Stortford Town Council regrets to announce that the contractor (Novo Contractors) employed to reconstruct and refurbish Market Square Toilets has ceased work on the contract and have advised that they do not intend to restart. The contract has therefore been terminated for reason of default by the contractor. Novo Contractors was initially chosen following a competitive tendering process and after undertaking the usual checks and following receipt of satisfactory references. Novo had previously completed work for the Council with which it was entirely satisfied. The Town Council became aware, following contract award, that another company in the Novo group (but not Novo Contractors) was in liquidation, however there was no reason at that point to rescind the award nor would such a rescission have been permitted by the industry standard ‘JCT’ contract which is used for works of this nature.
The demolition and reconstruction has been completed to floor level and the building inspector has confirmed that the works to date are satisfactory, which means that most of the uncertainties in the build are now behind us. This gives a new contractor a relatively clear run and the Town Council has already initiated a new round of competitive tendering for the completion of the works. As is common with contracts of this nature, some payments have already been made to Novo albeit for less than the value of works actually completed. Following the default no further payments are due and under the contract Novo Contractors remain liable for any costs in excess of their fixed price quote which might be incurred. The Town Council has been advised, however, that Novo Contractors will shortly cease trading and the Council will therefore be seeking to complete the works as quickly as possible and without any increase in cost.
Unlike the toilets they replace, the new toilets will be at ground level and fully accessible for those with disabilities. A terrace roof is included in the design and the Council is in discussion with the owners of the adjacent café (Rosey Lea) with a view to it being used for seating. Subject to receiving satisfactory quotes it is hoped that the works will restart in March/April.