Legal battle over stadium continues as engineer calls contractor’s £253m case ‘embarrassing’

Mott MacDonald has labelled Multiplex’s £253m claims against it over delays to Wembley stadium, “embarrassing”.

In the latest twist in the Wembley saga, the engineer filed its defence at the High Court this week, setting out objections to the claims by Multiplex – since bought by contractor Brookfield – over alleged design failings on the much-delayed stadium.

Brookfield filed a writ last December claiming £253m in damages from Mott for failing to warn it of design changes and providing “late and inadequate” information. Wembley was completed two years late and up to £300m over budget.

But Mott MacDonald claims Brookfield was responsible for the delays and problems. Multiplex has already fought legal battles with subcontractors CBUK and PC Harrington.

Mott claimed Multiplex’s case was “embarrassing and lacking in any proper particulars”. It said a timeline of works was “irregular”, and contained “logic errors” – for example, that Multiplex, CBUK and PC Harrington said the rotation of the arch had happened on different dates.

Mott called for further detail and proof that losses were caused by its negligence. It also launched a counterclaim for £230k, mostly in unpaid fees for variations.

The word ‘embarrassing’ is to emphasise the lack of detail in the particulars

Construction lawyer

A senior construction lawyer said: “The word ‘embarrassing’ is meant to emphasise that there is a lack of detail in the particulars of the case. Given the high degree of this in the CBUK case, it’s no surprise they’ve brought it up.”

He added that Mott MacDonald would now be hoping that the judge would either demand more information from Multiplex’s legal team or throw the case out.

Meanwhile the High Court has found architect Aukett Fitzroy Robinson guilty of fraudulent misrepresentation and deceit.

The architect was working on two jobs for property developer Simon Halabi. Nicholas Thompson, the chief executive of AFR, failed to inform Halabi that Jeremy Blake, project leader on the jobs, had resigned from the firm until eight months after he did.

Rupert Choat, construction partner at CMS Cameron McKenna, said: “This is an extremely serious ruling. There is the wider implication for people who bid for jobs using the best and brightest people in the firm. Clients get the idea that these will be the ones working on the job, and it isn’t always the case.”