Contractor Mowlem and Bath and North East Somerset council settled out of court this week in the first of what is predicted to be a series of legal actions over the troubled Bath Spa scheme.

In the opening round, Mowlem demanded that the council return samples of glazing panels that had been removed from the exterior of the building because the council had said their quality was substandard.

A spokesperson for the council said it had no objection to giving the panels back to Mowlem, so the case was settled two hours before it was due to appear in court. He said: "Mowlem were concerned that the evidence would be lost or damaged so asked, through legal action, for the panels back. That is fine with us."

Malcolm Henney, executive member for resources at the council, said the decision did not indicate a truce between the parties. He said: "This was a very straightforward issue and does not mean that the rest of the problems are resolved."