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Defective materials & workmanship

Client: Joint appointment on behalf of ICC Arbitral Tribunal
Situation: A member of Probyn Miers was appointed as the ICC Arbitral Tribunal Expert Architect for the purpose of investigating and reporting on an extensive schedule of more than 700 defects in this international hotel in Kiev, Ukraine. The hotel was required to be designed and built to meet a combination of European and International standards including Russian, Ukrainian and German standards.
 Action: During the course of several site visits we met with the parties and agreed a systematic process of research, investigation and opening up where required, leading to substantial agreement on many items. This included investigations in to the acoustic performance of internal walls, roofing and rain water drainage, external walling and render.
 Result: The hearing took place and an Award was published.


Client: Design and build contractor
Situation: The contractor was faced with allegations of widespread and severe defects in the construction of a large hotel as the results of defective design and/or poor workmanship.  PM was appointed to examine the design provided as part of the Employer’s Requirements, and the design as built, and comment on the likely cause and the severity of the defects observed.
Action: PM provided a report on issues of design and workmanship, and gave evidence in the ensuing arbitration.
Result: The arbitrator’s award was in favour of contractor.


Client: Solicitors for the Architect’s PI insurers.
The Claimants appointed the Defendant as Architect for a new, substantial, detached house. The construction was traditional with cavity masonry walls faced with natural stone, tiled pitched roofs and bronze framed double glazed windows. The house was completed in 2008 and the Claimants moved in.  Subsequently: i), a number of windows leaked during a severe storm, ii), condensation appeared on the window frames, and iii), areas of damp appeared at the surrounds of several windows.  The Claimants then appointed a glazing and fenestration expert (Mr Rod Appleyard) and an architect Expert (Mr David Duckham) both of whom produced reports alleging defective design and/or construction.
Action: Probyn Miers prepared an initial report based on the information contained in the reports of Mr Appleyard and Mr Duckham. The PM report assessed the Appleyard and Duckham reports and gave opinions on specific issues identified by instructing solicitors. Several of these opinions were at variance with those expressed by the other two experts.The PM report was used to inform the Statement of Defence and BK attended conferences with Counsel while the Defence was being drafted.Subsequently, on 05 March 2013, BK visited the site in conjunction with the other two experts, the Claimants, the Defendant, the Contractor (2nd Defendant) and the window supplier, and has provided additional advice to instructing solicitors in the light of this visit.
Result: Following the site visit the Contractor and the Window Supplier have both appointed experts. A meeting of experts is expected to take place in May 2013 and provisional dates for mediation have been identified in June 2013.


Client: Solicitors for the Claimant.
The project involved the complete refurbishment of a 5 storey terraced house. Work was completed in November 2012 and the Claimant moved in. Within a few days there was a major leak in the main bathroom which also caused significant damage to the ceiling of the room below. The Claimant called in Pimlico Plumbers to fix the leak because the Contractor’s plumber was not available. During the course of the remedial work further defects were discovered in the drainage and plumbing systems. Subsequently other defects have been discovered in the plumbing and electrical systems.In addition the Claimant was not satisfied with the quality of the workmanship generally and the number of defects apparent in the plasterwork and joinery.
Action: Probyn Miers carried out a site inspection in conjunction with an M&E expert and prepared a preliminary report. The report concluded that: i), there was no specification or other document which set out the standards of materials to be used and workmanship to be achieved, ii), the standard to be applied in the absence of such document was the reasonable industry standard, iii), the defects to the finishes were generally within the range that might be expected following an extensive refurbishment, and iv), the quality of the work generally (excluding the M&E elements) was of an average standard when judged against the standards of reasonable industry standards.
Result: Awaiting further instructions as of 08 April 2013.


Client: Property owner through his solicitor.
Situation: The project was a large extension to a detached house on a secluded, heavily wooded site. The additional accommodation included a living room, a guest bedroom suite, a double garage, a gym and a swimming pool with changing and shower facilities. The design was geometrically complex and incorporated several levels to take account of the natural slope of the site.Water ingress was apparent in several locations from the time the building was handed over and occupied. When roof coverings were removed to give access to rectify the leaks it was discovered that further significant deterioration was occurring within the roof construction because of the effects of condensation.In addition damp penetration became apparent in several areas and the property owner discovered that significant voids that had been formed beneath the floors of the store room, the garage and part of the gym, had no provision for natural ventilation.
Action: Probyn Miers carried out a site inspection and prepared a preliminary report. The purpose of the report at this stage is to assist the property owner in settlement discussions and negotiations with the Architect. It concluded that: i), the type of roof construction specified was not suitable for use as part of a swimming pool enclosure, ii), the detailed design of the roof would not prevent condensation or water penetration and would make effective maintenance impracticable, iii), the voids beneath the floors of the store room, the garage and part of the gym had been designed in such a way as to prevent the provision of natural ventilation, iv), the system of land drainage appears to be inadequate, and v), the design did not include an effective means of preventing the ingress of water from the ground.
Result: Awaiting further instructions as of 08 April 2013.

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