Sir Alan Sugar’s property company is suing chartered surveyor Wilks Head & Eve for negligence.
Amsprop City Properties is demanding damages of £300,000 after it purchased a building for £5.9m that was found to be suffering from “Regent Street disease”.
The frame-corroding condition was detected by workmen carrying out refurbishment in August 2006. It was found in the prime property, which comprises a restaurant and five floors of offices. No mention of the problem was made in surveys carried out by Wilks Head & Eve in 2005, according to the write.
Wilks Head & Eve charged £2,250 in February 2005 for a full structural survey of the steel-framed property but reported no significant defects. Structural engineers were also called to inspect it with a building contractor, yet still no problems were reported.
Regent Street disease occurs when moisture penetrates a Portland stone facade and rots structural steelwork, causing corrosion to steel frames.
Amsprop argues that the roof had to be stripped entirely, with new steel inserted before an asphalt roof could be laid, as a result of extensive corrosion.
Sugar’s firm, which employs Simon Ambrose, the winner of the Apprentice TV show, is run by his son Daniel. It also accuses the surveyor of failing to anticipate the onset of the disease.
Amsprop believes a price drop of £300,000 could have been negotiated had it been made aware of the corrosion, and is seeking this as damages from the surveyors, or £60,000 for the cost of repairs and professional fees.
Both firms declined to comment.