Council: We’re not giving up on defects

A local authority has pledged to keep up the pressure against a civil engineering specialist over defects to a record-breaking travel route.

The 25km Cambridgeshire Guided Busway runs from Cambridge to St Ives and on to Huntingdon and is the longest route of its kind in the world. It opened in 2011 – two years behind schedule – and in 2013 its constructors, BAM Nuttall, agreed to pay Cambridgeshire County Council £33 million following a dispute over construction costs that was settled following the threat of legal action and mediation.

Since then, work has been ongoing to assess the extent and seriousness of faults to the route, including gaps between guideway beams, drainage and problems with support shims.

Now the Council’s cabinet has approved a report that went to its 15 April meeting, which spelled out defects, the work needed to assess them and measures that could be taken to meet the cost of rectification, if necessary.

Council leader Martin Curtis said: “We are determined that the success of the Busway will be maintained. As with all major engineering schemes we are keeping a close eye on the performance of the structure to ensure it meets the standards demanded during construction and to identify any repair or maintenance work outside of what could have reasonably been expected when the track was built.

“It is right and proper that any faults which are the responsibility of BAM Nuttall are put right at no cost to Cambridgeshire taxpayers and if professional experts find unexpected or additional repair or maintenance work is necessary we shall seek to recover the full cost of that work from BAM – even if that means taking further legal action.”

Construction projects of any size and value can be affected by disputes, particularly around contractual issues, which can be costly to resolve in terms of both time and money.

At Palmers, we can provide expert advice on drafting contracts, to help avoid disputes arising at a later stage, and can also provide expert arbitration, mediation and adjudication services, to assist in out of court dispute resolution, as well as court representation. For more information, please contact Adam Davis.