Court blocks Balfour Beatty’s request for cladding docs

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A justice has told Balfour Beatty that it cannot unit an designer to prime done reams of documents to spot if immoderate of them person a bearing connected a £12m cladding-defects dispute.

Mrs Justice Jefford ruled successful the Technology and Construction Court that the contractor could not necessitate designer Broadway Malyan to hunt for the documents erstwhile it lone had a constricted thought of what it was looking for.

A “lack of acceptable access” to the records was besides identified by the judge, with documents being held successful 15 boxes and others stored connected now-obsolete software.

The lawsuit arose implicit the Hive, a six-storey gathering successful Bethnal Green, eastbound London, which was completed successful 2009. It comprises pupil accommodation and commercialized units.

Mansell Construction Services, which aboriginal became Balfour Beatty Regional Construction, built the Hive for developer Hive Bethnal Green, with Broadway Malyan arsenic architect.

In June 2021, the developer issued a assertion against Balfour Beatty, alleging defects successful plan and construction, specifically regarding the cladding, ventilation, windows, cavity barriers and roofing.

Balfour Beatty past asked Broadway Malyan for “all enactment products specified arsenic drawings, designs, specifications” positive the archetypal assignment letter, tract inspection records, fire-strategy study and the last inspection of the works.

Mrs Justice Jefford noted: “That was connected immoderate presumption a far-reaching petition for documents.”

Broadway Malyan replied that Balfour Beatty should person the documents anyway, arsenic the design-and-build contractor, and that it had nary work to disclose documents astatine specified an aboriginal signifier successful the ineligible proceedings.

The justice said Balfour Beatty’s claims astir having trouble defending itself against the developer without the documents were “overstated”.

She said a missive sent to Broadway Malyan by Balfour Beatty’s solicitor was “in the astir wide terms”, and offered nary mentation “for wherefore the adept instructed by Balfour Beatty is incapable to supply further particulars of the respects successful which the rain-screen cladding panels were improperly fixed, oregon what cavity barriers were referred to, what their projected exertion was and however they were unsuitable.

“These are each matters that could beryllium expanded upon by reflection and the exertion of expertise without the request for immoderate plan documents oregon inspection reports.”

Refusing to marque the bid against Broadway Malyan, the justice said Balfour Beatty wanted to spot connected the designer “the load of searching for, uncovering and identifying the applicable documents”, with small accusation connected what it was expected to seek.

In June, a justice ruled against Balfour Beatty’s effort to disregard from tribunal a cost assertion made against it for cladding remediation connected a residential strategy successful Dorset.