Beleaguered £26m Bath Spa project swims a little closer to finishing line as project team agree fresh paint solution
The residents of Bath are a step nearer to dipping their toes into the thermal waters of Bath Spa. A solution to the problem of peeling paintwork has finally been agreed between the architect, contractor and client. Once the paintwork is replaced, the £26m Grimshaw-designed Spa will be a stage closer to opening. Construction problems have already delayed completion by 18 months.

Building understands that Grimshaw will ask main contractor Mowlem to replace the paintwork with a two-part epoxy product. A specialist subcontractor will apply the finish, which has been used on other spa projects by the operator of Bath Spa, Thermae.

Bath and North East Somerset Council has refused to comment on the fix, but it acknowledged this week that there was agreement on a preferred technical solution and that it would be investigated, tested and costed in the next few days. The statement also suggested that a schedule would be finalised in the next week.

The news followed the end of legal dispute between Mowlem and the council. The council was granted an injunction last October, which prevented Mowlem from denying site access to another contractor Warings to test the peeling paint. The injunction was upheld by the Court of Appeal last Friday. Mowlem had denied it was at fault for the peeling paint and claims it followed the architect’s specifications.

However, just as one legal problem fades away at Bath Spa, another one threatens to take its place. It was announced last Friday that the council is considering suing consultant engineer Arup over work carried out on foundations. A joint statement released on behalf of both parties said: “Bath and North East Somerset Council has issued a protective writ against Arup as a precautionary measure in relation to costs associated with piling rising earlier in the project. The council is carrying out investigations and has not intention at this stage to formally serve proceedings.”

Any action should not further delay the completion of the spa, although no official opening date has yet been announced.