In latest in a spate of disasters, architect gets steamed up over who is responsible for waterproofing problems

Architect Grimshaw has hit out at its partners on the troubled Bath Spa project, furiously denying it is responsible for the latest disaster to befall the £36m scheme.

The architect has denied an implication by Bath and North East Somerset Council (Banes) that it is responsible for a new fault in the waterproof floors of the steam room. The fault has led to serious leaking into the dry treatment rooms below.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, the architect appeared to shift the blame for the problems on to the contractor, Mowlem.

The statement said: “We refute the implication that the continual delays to the completion of the Bath Spa project are a result of the design. It is our view that the delay has been, and continues to be, related to the construction.”

Mowlem said in a statement that the leaks were down to the design, and that it was still awaiting instructions from Grimshaw.

Following a meeting of the council’s Major Projects Overview Scrutiny Panel on Tuesday, Banes released a statement that put responsibility for sorting out the leaking floors on Grimshaw. It claimed that the leaks in the steam room floor were “worse than at first thought” and that the same problem could occur in other floors.

Councillor Nicole O’Flaherty, the Banes member in charge of the project, said the problem was as serious as the peeling paint on the pool walls of the spa, which caused the project to be delayed for eight months.

We refute the implication that the delay is a result of the design ... It is related to construction

Grimshaw statement

“We don’t know yet whether it is a design or a construction fault but it is the responsibility of the architect to ensure that the building is constructed and passed to the council completely up to standard and in full working order.

“Therefore we expect Nicholas Grimshaw & Partners to let us know without delay what they plan to do to put the problem right. We have not yet heard from [the practice] as to how they plan to put the problem right but we do expect this to cause further delay to the project.”

O’Flaherty added that the council would not know how long the new delay would be or how much more the project would now cost until Banes had been briefed by Grimshaw.

But she pledged that the project would continue, despite growing local disquiet.

She said: “It is pretty obvious that it will put a delay on the project. Many people in Bath have had enough, but the spa still has a future. We’re not interested in who’s to blame: we just want it finished as quickly as possible.”