Kent-based Cardy Construction has been hit with a legal claim for more than £500,000 after a piling exercise gone-wrong blocked a sewage system with concrete.
Southern Water alleges it was lumped with a half-million pound bill for remedial works after the sewer in Bexhill-on-Sea became clogged up during the development of luxury apartment block Bexhill Sea View.
The utilities firm claims Cardy signed an agreement to take on all responsibilities for piling works carried out by its sub-contractors.
The property, on Sackville Road, was being developed by Mardan (Bexhill), which had appointed Cardy to demolish existing buildings and replace them with 24 luxury apartments and ground floor restaurants.
Works commenced in June 2006, but by October Southern Water claimed the public sewer had become blocked or “severely obstructed”.
An incident report, signed by Cardy, recorded that: “Piling works on site had allowed concrete to enter the sewer via connection onto site previously serving demolished houses/shops.”
The writ said EDCM Project Management had been hired as structural engineer and consultant on the project, and had therefore provided detailed designs showing the position of the drains. BWB Consulting was appointed to draw up plans for the piling activity.
But Southern Water said that, in an agreement in June 2006, Cardy “assumed all those contractual and professional obligations” which ECDM and BWB would have been responsible for.
The writ confirmed the utilities company was claiming for loss and damages arising from Cardy’s “negligence in the performance of building works… and the instruction and/or supervision of the subcontractors which it engaged to assist in said works”.
The utilities firm has claimed £504,553 for the cost of the remedial works and investigations, but is also chasing interest on the amount.
Cardy, which is based in Canterbury, has about 220 employees and an annual turnover of almost £40 million. Managing director Stuart Gremo said he hoped the matter was “close to being settled” but would not comment further.
A Southern Water spokeswoman said the firm would not comment as “this is ongoing litigation”.
The remedial works
Southern Water said that after discovering the blockage of the sewer, and consulting with the Highway Authority, it was obliged to construct a new sewer bisecting the arc of the existing sewer so that blocked sections could be isolated by short lengths.
The utility firm added added: “In the course of constructing the said remedial works, Southern Water discovered the presence of a further blockage and was obliged to extend the length of the new sewer as a consequence.”