Further court action is “highly likely” over delays to the Aberdeen Art Gallery project, following unsuccessful talks between the council and contractor.
The local authority has been locked in talks with McLaughlin and Harvey over what the final bill will be for the revamped venue, which is set to reopen on November 2.
A new report, to be considered by members of Aberdeen City Council’s capital programme committee on Thursday, has revealed the final cost of the project is still unknown, with an agreed financial settlement still to be agreed with the main contractor.
Councillor Alex Nicoll, SNP group resource spokesman, hit out at the local authority’s ruling administration over fears the court action could lead to the council’s bill “growing further”.
He said: “When it comes to the art gallery, the administration lurches from one disaster to another.
“Not only is the project nearly two years late and millions over budget, it could be the case that legal action leads to the council’s bill growing further.”
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Initially the project was estimated at £30 million, with £10m each due to be raised from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the city council and through a public donations drive.
However the gross budget of the project has since been set at £34.6m and the drive has netted just £4.8m.
A legal challenge regarding the project is currently on hold for six months, after an action was raised from the contractor regarding ongoing contractual claims for delays, at the Court of Session in April 2018.
It was reported in May that the contractor had since submitted further additional claims to the council’s contract administrator for their consideration, with a council report claiming that both parties were “working constructively”.
But the report to committee next week reveals talks have not proved fruitful.
It said: “To date these talks have been unsuccessful and it is now highly likely that a court action will ensue.”
McLaughlin and Harvey could not be reached for comment.
Douglas Lumsden co-leader of Aberdeen City Council said: “The council as guardians of public money will not roll over.”