Severfield Rowen wins court battle with Cleveland Bridge

The Northern Echo: Shard fine Shard fine

A NORTH-EAST engineering company has been ordered to pay out more than £800,000 for delays and defects during the building of Europe’s tallest building.

Darlington-based Cleveland Bridge must pay the money to rival North Yorkshire firm, Severfield Rowen Structures, following a legal row between companies working on the Shard in London.

Severfield Rowen, based at Dalton, near Thirsk, subcontracted Cleveland Bridge to fabricate and supply steel for the first nine levels of the skyscraper.

The 1,016ft building was completed in 2012 under a £426m contract.

However, according to Construction News, a judgement handed down to the Technology and Construction Court by Mr Justice Akenhead found that Cleveland Bridge “had taken on more work than it had the capacity to deal with”, and had subcontracted out its workload too late, causing delays of 38 days.

Mr Justice Akenhead accepted the view of a Severfield witness that there was “a very high level of poor workmanship in the steel delivered by Cleveland Bridge UK”.

There was an additional four-day delay from the planned closure over Easter of Severfield Rowen’s paint shop, along with 14 extra days of delays not attributable to Cleveland Bridge.

Both Cleveland Bridge and Severfield Rowen, noted the judge, were engaged in several major projects at the time.

Severfield was working on the Olympic Stadium and the Heron Tower, while Cleveland Bridge was working on a major motorway project in Glasgow and on the A46.

The judge said that although Cleveland Bridge should not be criticised for having “a very healthy order book”, it had breached its contract with Severfield by failing to deliver according to the main contract programme.

Although told to pay £824,478, Cleveland Bridge was awarded £928,472 plus VAT from Severfield in fees due under the subcontract.

Problems began to emerge on the project in January 2010, according to the judgement, when an internal Cleveland Bridge email mentioned an “extraordinary” work overload, expressing particular concern over the Shard.

Several factors were cited, including weather and internal resource constraints. After Severfield declined Cleveland Bridge’s suggestion to delay the fabricated steel delivery, Severfield extended its working hours and began working nights to make up the delay.

Cleveland Bridge told Constriction News they do not intend to appeal the ruling.

The Northern Echo was unable to contact the company tonight (Tuesday).

Comments (3)

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7:54am Wed 9 Jan 13

Ally F says...

Oh dead, yet another CB&E job ends up before the man in the wig. Seems a recurring pattern. Given the recent number of legal judgements against the company you would have thought settling out of court might seem a good idea. Alternatively, not agreeing to contracts that are commercially suicidal...
Oh dead, yet another CB&E job ends up before the man in the wig. Seems a recurring pattern. Given the recent number of legal judgements against the company you would have thought settling out of court might seem a good idea. Alternatively, not agreeing to contracts that are commercially suicidal... Ally F

9:49am Wed 9 Jan 13

Jewson458 says...

Agree Ally but the trouble seems to like in unrealistic promises from idealism to actual reality. This is unfortunately common throughout UK businesses in my experience.
Agree Ally but the trouble seems to like in unrealistic promises from idealism to actual reality. This is unfortunately common throughout UK businesses in my experience. Jewson458

9:54am Wed 9 Jan 13

oliviaden6 says...

How long will it be before this company has to go to the wall because of apparent mismanagement. It is now time to take stock of their situation and be realistic with their cointracting procedures. I might suggest put in place a contract management team that know what is going on the shop floor and with suppliers. At the end of the day it will be the shop floor that will bear the brunt for these gross errors as well as the community.
How long will it be before this company has to go to the wall because of apparent mismanagement. It is now time to take stock of their situation and be realistic with their cointracting procedures. I might suggest put in place a contract management team that know what is going on the shop floor and with suppliers. At the end of the day it will be the shop floor that will bear the brunt for these gross errors as well as the community. oliviaden6

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