Museum awarded £1.12m damages in row over steps
National Museums Liverpool has been awarded £1.12m in damages against a Manchester-based architects practice following a longthy dispute over design faults at the new Museum of Liverpool.
The architecture firm, AEW Architects and Designers Ltd, has been ordered to pay compensation to the museum after it was blamed for a series of design flaws centred on steps, a seating area and ceilings, one of which collapsed.
AEW was taken to the High Court earlier this year and judgement has finally been handed down after deliberations lasting for several weeks.
The dispute arose when, during construction AEW and its contractors struggled to make external steps flow into an amphitheate-style seating area. Instead of the original design, they created a concrete plinth as a solution. When seen by the museum’s executive director Sharon Granville, this was described as “an abomination”.
The plinth had to be removed, at substantial cost, while the steps and seating areas at either end of the building were not opened to the public. The judge, Mr Justice Akenhead, recognised that one of the contractors, a joint venture between Galliford Try and Danish builder Pihl, was also partially responsible. It has been ordered to pay £205,000 of the total £1.12m bill. A separate judgement relating to the work on the ceilings is expected in several weeks.
Sharon Granville said: “The court has found in favour of National Museums Liverpool on all counts. We are very pleased with the outcome. This financila award for the external works means that we will now be able to rectify the long-standing issues with the external steps and terraces at the museum and make them accessible to the public as soon as possible.”
Steve Burne, managing director of AEW Architects who joined after the incident, said: “We are disappointed with the outcome of the case. The matter is being dealt with by our insurers and does not affect the ongoing health of the business but we take criticism seriously.
“We pride ourselves on outstanding levels of service, a fact borne out by over 95% of our business being for repeat clients. The management structure of the company has completely changed since the events of 2009 and we have moved in a different direction since then.”
Work started on the museum in 2007, and it opened in 2011.
This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Simon Malia .