Council seeks £7m over leaky school

A local authority is seeking more than £7 million from two firms involved in designing and building a school that started letting in water soon after it was finished.

The BBC reported on 3 September that Devon County Council wants to recover the money from architects White Design and main contractors Interserve following problems at Dartington Primary School, which opened in 2010.

The council said in a statement: "We’ve issued letters of intent to the architects and contractors amounting to over £7 million. That covers the cost of the construction work and the cost of temporarily relocating the school, including the temporary classrooms."

A 2013 report to the council on the problems at the school said: “Shortly after completion, evidence of water ingress became apparent and works have been ongoing in an attempt to resolve the problem… the major cause of the ongoing water ingress is likely to be the result of the scheme design.”

The BBC reported that White Design and Interserve had confirmed that legal action was under way but declined to comment further.

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.