Engineer claims £3.7m for North London Line project after adjudication fails to solve fee dispute

Engineer Hyder is suing Carillion following a dispute over payment for its role in the high-profile £250m upgrade of the North London Line, which completed earlier this year.

Hyder has lodged a writ calling for £3.7m in fees and VAT after Carillion, main contractor on the project, lost an adjudication over the dispute. The company has still failed to pay.

Hyder was engaged to carry out both pre- and post-contract engineering design on the £250m upgrade, known as the North London Railway Infrastructure Project. The project was designed to improve track, signalling and stations on the orbital North London Line in time for the Olympic Games.
The dispute comes despite the fact that the project, which was delivered on time in April, was shortlisted by its client, Network Rail, for its Rail Partnership Awards 2011.

According to the writ a “bespoke professional services agreement” was entered into by Carillion and Hyder on 25 August 2009. It says a “dispute arose over the defendant’s evaluation of the claimant’s fee for the contract stage design services” under this agreement.

Adjudicator Alan Turner decided on 2 May that Carillion should pay Hyder £3.1m plus VAT within seven days, plus £67k in interest.

Asked separately to provide more details of the dispute, Hyder and Carillion issued a joint statement refusing to comment further. It said: “Both companies have enjoyed a long and successful partnership and are confident this will continue. It is not appropriate for us to discuss details of the case.”

The project has nevertheless been successful at increasing the capacity on the line to eight trains per hour, duelling parts of the network and allowing longer trains. Atkins was signalling works contractor and Mott MacDonald was technical adviser on the scheme.