Engineer accused of negligence after cracks appeared in ground slab causing over £700k of damage

Motor dealer company Laindon Holdings has launched a legal battle against Ove Arup and Partners after accusing the firm of negligence.

The case centres around a scheme to repair cracks in the floor of a motor garage at Kingston House in Basildon in 1997.

Ove Arup and Partners, who provide structural engineering services, gave expert witness in a dispute after the warehouse floor slab cracked in the nineties, and the firm was then retained to design a remedial scheme, according to a High Court writ.

Laindon Holdings says that Ove Arup gave a warranty in November 1997, but was in breach of its obligations to exercise reasonable skill, care and diligence, and advising that the adoption of a ground bearing slab as a remedial slab was reasonable.

Since the ground slab was built, clay heave has continued beneath the ground, and this has caused differences in levels beneath the slab, a cracked slab, and damage to other parts of the building including internal walls. Some doors cannot be opened or closed fully, and the porch has moved, while the tarmac near the fire door has moved upwards, making the door stick, the writ says.

Laindon Holdings says a new slab cast on piled foundations is now needed, and that this will cost £693,000 plus VAT and professional fees. Now Laindon, of Service House, West Mayne, Basildon, is seeking unlimited damages.