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.
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