Main contractor claims it incurred liquidated damages as a result of handing the project over late

Rolls Building

The High Court has ruled on many a multimillion-pound problem project down the years, but the latest delay-hit scheme to pass before judges is rather closer to home – over the late opening of its own £96m Rolls Building on Fetter Lane.

The Rolls Building (pictured) – in which the High Court’s construction division now sits – opened up to two years late in October 2011. The main contractor responsible for delivering the 11-storey scheme, Carillion, is suing M&E subcontractors Aecom and Emcor in an attempt to recoup some of the costs it incurred as a result of handing over the project late.

Details of the ongoing case are revealed in a preliminary judgment handed down last week by QC Nerys Jefford, who was sitting as a judge in the High Court’s construction division, and seen by Building.

The preliminary judgment does not disclose how much Carillion is suing for, but it does say Carillion incurred liquidated damages as a result of handing over the project late.

It rules on two preliminary matters, the first in favour of Emcor, and the second in favour of Carillion.

The first rules in favour of Emcor’s interpretation of the extensions of time it was entitled to have.

The second finds against Aecom and Emcor’s contention that a supplementary agreement between Carillion and the Rolls client, Rolls Development UK Ltd, had “extinguished” the contractor’s liability for liquidated damages.

The case is ongoing.

The Rolls Building includes 31 court rooms, including three “super courts” to handle large international and national high-value disputes, and 55 consultation rooms.

A Carillion spokesperson said: “This is an interim judgment and as the court case is continuing it would be inappropriate for us to comment at this stage.”

Aecom and Emcor declined to comment.

Architect Woods Bagot is named in the preliminary judgment, handed down on 29 April, as a defendant in the main case, but both Carillion and Woods Bagot told Building they had settled. Woods Bagot added: “Although Woods Bagot is named as a defendant in this case, we are neither party to these proceedings nor the main case.”