Italian contractor Permasteelisa is set to foot a bill of nearly £15m after a judge awarded damages over “disastrous” failures on a Lendlease-led project in which glass shards fell from an office building into the street.
In a High Court judgement handed down late last week, Mr Justice Stuart-Smith awarded £14,753,195.16 in damages to claimants 125 OBS, the owners of 125 Old Broad Street in the City of London.
The judge found that between 2008 and 2012 there were 17 “spontaneous failures” of glass panes on the building.
“The failures occurred without prior warning and, although on some occasions the shattered glass was retained in its frame until it could be removed, on others the glass was ejected away from the building and down towards street level,” the judgement said.
The incident of glass falling 17 storeys onto the street attracted high-profile media attention in August 2009.
In his judgement, Mr Justice Stuart-Smith said at least 35 per cent of glazing installed on the 26-storey tower had not been heat-soaked as it should have been.
The building was re-clad in 2013 but there continued to be failures, the judge found.
Leandlease was the principal contractor on the project and the defendent in the case, but the glazing was carried out by Permasteelisa.
It is understood Permasteelisa will pick up the bill for the full damages. A total of £8.7m of the costs are for reglazing costs.
A Lendlease spokesman said: “Permasteelisa and Lendlease have reached an agreement whereby Lendlease will not be financially impacted.”
Permasteelisa UK chief executive Klaus Lother said: “This judgment is relevant to an old project executed in 2005 and is connected with a decision by the client to change the project materials.
“The need for changing said materials was attributed by the client to Permasteelisa, which we objected to.
“Although we cannot agree with the conclusions of the judgement, we were long since prepared for such a possibility.
“Therefore it will have no impact on Permasteelisa business in the UK or at group level.”
The firm is “reviewing” the court decision. “We are also assessing our situation towards an appeal,” he added.