Sir Robert McAlpine is being sued for more than £3.4m by law firm Linklaters over M&E work at its Silk Street office in the City of London

The solicitor has accused McAlpine of breach of contract and negligence after water pipes 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, and Linklaters called in consultants to carry out a detailed survey of the chilled water pipework.

According to Linklaters’ writ, the survey found that much of the pipework was wet with condensation and only six out of 51 locations inspected showed no sign of corrosion.

The law firm said this was caused by McAlpine’s failure to apply properly a thermal insulation and vapour barrier.

In August 2008, Linklaters called in Como Interiors for repairs to its chilled water system.

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

Linklaters said: "We confirm that we have issued legal proceedings in relation to defective pipe work.”

A McAlpine spokesperson said: “We’re undertaking our own investigation; until the findings are known, we’re unable to comment.”