The High Court has ordered Lendlease to payout £14.8m after a London city tower was forced to be reclad for a second time because of falling glass panes on to the street below.
The ruling ends a long legal battle surrounding the former London Stock Exchange tower, now known as 125 Old Broad Street, where on one occasion a 15ft plate glass window fell from the 17th floor onto a busy street just missing office workers enjoying an early lunch.
In total of 17 plate glass windows failed on the 26-storey tower forcing its owner to pay to reclad the building, just four years after Lendlease had completed its original renovation project.
Handing down his judgment last week, Mr Justice Stuart-Smith described the project’s failings as “disastrous”.
Lendlease first carried out the extensive redevelopment of 125 Old Broad Street under a two-year design and build contract, completing in 2008.
Between then and 2012, the building suffered 17 spontaneous glazing failures due to nickel sulphide levels in the glass.
Fortunately, no one was seriously injured by falling glass, but the building had to be cloaked in scaffolding to protect the public.
Owners Hammerson, the Bank of Ireland and GE Real Estate then took the decision to pay for the building to be reclad with a new glass curtain walling system in 2013.
The judge said that Lendlease had failed to ensure it had the sufficient documents to prove the glazing supplied had been properly heat-treated to prevent failure.
He said: “I find as a fact that a substantial proportion of the glass that was used on 125 OBS, probably in the region of 35-40% though possibly more, was not heat soaked in accordance with the requirements of the contract.
“If it had all been heat soaked properly, there would probably have been either no breakages or one breakage.”
Around £8.7m of the £14.7m award covers the reglazing cost, with other remedial works and financing charges making up the balance.
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