Law firm launches £3.4m lawsuit after water leak in its London offices

Sir Robert McAlpine is being sued for more than £3.4m by law firm Linklaters, over failed M&E works.

The solicitors firm has accused Sir Robert McAlpine of breach of contract and negligence, after water pipework at its offices in London had to be replaced.

A £43.5m refit of the offices was originally completed by McAlpine in 1996, but a water leak was later discovered in July 2006. Linklaters then called in consultants to carry out a detailed survey of the chilled water pipework in the building.

The survey found much of the pipework was wet with condensation. Extensive rust and corrosion was also identified, and only six out of 51 locations inspected showed no sign of rust or corrosion, the writ claims.

The law firm said the rust and corrosion were caused by Sir Robert McAlpine's failure to apply a thermal insulation and vapour barrier properly, and its failure to ensure all goods and materials were of good quality and reasonably fit for their purpose.

It is also suing Sir Robert McAlpine for breach of warranty over a guarantee provided for its sister company.

In August 2008 Linklaters called in Como Interiors for essential infrastructure work and repairs to the chilled water system, but the company's final account has not yet been agreed.

Linklaters is claiming £2.9m for the cost of repairs to the water system, professional fees of over £500,000 and any additional costs likely to arise.

The firm is also claiming damages for losses for lost interest and financing charges, as well as lost investment value of capital.