High Court defence wrongly points finger at Dorchester-based firm which has never worked “north of Southampton”

Architect AEW’s High Court defence against the National Museum of Liverpool’s legal claim has mistakenly blamed alleged problems with the building’s ceilings on a Dorset-based kitchen and bathroom contractor that had no involvement with the job.

As Building.co.uk reported on Wednesday, Manchester-based AEW Architects this week hit back at the museum’s £3.5m claim – which alleges that the £72m building is suffering from a host of serious problems including flaws with a suspended ceiling linked to a collapse that injured a workman last May.

However, it has now emerged that the legal papers – filed by AEW’s lawyers Plexus Law – wrongly pointed the finger at Dorchester-based Cull Contracting Services Ltd, which did not work on the National Museum of Liverpool and has “never been further north than Southampton,” according to its boss.

The defence document argued that AEW – which was brought in after the museum dismissed the original architect 3XN – was not responsible for any “deficiencies” with the suspended ceiling.

“The [ceiling] panels were not prone to failure by reason of any design excercise undertaken by AEW,” the document stated. “To the extent that there are any deficiencies in the suspended ceiling, they are the responsibility of Cull.”

Martin Cull, the founder of Cull Contracting Services, told Building: “I am based in Dorchester and the furthest north I’ve been is Southampton.

“I’ve never been to Liverpool and I’ve not been paid for this work. I’m an MOD contractor doing refurbishment work. I don’t do ceilings. I do kitchens and bathrooms.

“This is a bit of a cock-up to say the least.”

A spokesman for Plexus Law said the firm would amend the defence document shortly to correct the error.

“It was an error and it was the wrong party [named],” he said. “We have spoken to Cull Contracting Services Limited and have written to them to explain it was an innocent error and that it is being rectified.”

AEW declined to comment.