£14.7m damages for faulty glass in former London Stock Exchange
Published: 5 September 2017
A contractor has been ordered to pay £14.7m in damages after installing faulty glass in the former London Stock Exchange building.
The High Court was told that the Exchange had been developed
by the contractor under a design and build contract dated January 2006.
The building featured a 26-storey tower clad with toughened
glass panels weighing 300 tonnes. In the four years following completion in
2008, 17 of the glass panels spontaneously broke.
During that time, scaffold tunnels had to be in place to
protect pedestrians from falling glass. The building was re-glazed in 2013.
The employer sought damages for breach of contract.
The two sides agreed that toughened glass was susceptible to
spontaneous breakages caused by nickel sulphide inclusions. A process known as
"heat soaking" minimised the incidence of such breakages, and the
contract expressly provided that the glass panels should be heat soaked in
accordance with European Standard EN 14179 2005.
The employer alleged a breach of that obligation, and
breaches of separate contractual obligations to use materials that were of good
quality and appropriate for their purpose.
The Court found in favour of the employer.
It held there was no basis for the contractor's suggestion
that the employer knowingly accepted the risk of breakages at anything like the
rate that occurred.
Documents provided by the contractor supported a finding
that at least 35% of the panels had not been heat soaked. That was a serious
breach of contract. Moreover, it meant that the glass was neither of good
quality nor fit for purpose
The court awarded £8.7m to cover the cost of re-glazing and
£6m to cover losses associated with the remedial works.
Please contact Matthew Sigsworth in our Dispute Resolution
Team if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article
or any aspect of contracts and litigation.