125 OBS (Nominees1) & another v Lend Lease Construction (Europe) Limited & another

Citation: [2017] EWHC 25 (TCC)

Redevelopment took place of 125 Old Broad Street, a prestigious 26-storey office building in the City of London. The defendants were engaged to install glass cladding, but between 2008 and 2012 there were 17 spontaneous failures, some of which saw glass falling to the pavement below. The cause of these failures was the presence of volatile nickel sulphide within the glass which had not been adequately remedied by heat soaking. The defendants argued that their only obligation under the contract was to supply glass which had been adequately heat soaked and that, having done so, the risk of the failures had been accepted by the claimants. The claimants, by contrast, submitted that the contractor was subject to various discrete obligations relating to the quality and suitability of the glass cladding.

Stuart-Smith J held that the contract did impose separate and discrete obligations on the defendant in addition to the obligation to heat soak, including that the glass was to have both a design life and a service life of 30 years. On the basis of both statistics and reports from the suppliers of the glass, Stuart-Smith J also held that a substantial proportion of the glass had not been soaked in accordance with the requirements of the contract.

Stuart-Smith J held that the decision to reglaze the building was reasonable and that the cost to do so was recoverable from the defendants. The claimants were also entitled to recover other costs such as loss of rental whilst the defendants occupied part of the building as a site office, management costs, and costs paid to third parties arising out of damage to the building and local businesses.

Calum Lamont acted for 125 OBS (Nominees1) & another.

Adam Constable QC and Sarah Williams acted for Lend Lease Construction (Europe) Limited & another.

Full Judgment

Counsel

Calum Lamont
Adam Constable QC
Sarah Williams

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