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Client: Insurers for the architects
Situation: A Cambridge University college had commissioned a new library which was designed and constructed to achieve a lifespan in excess of 100 years. The roof was substantially clad in lead, using high quality materials throughout. After Practical Completion, problems arose in relation to water ingress which gave rise to a check on the design of the library roof. This in turn led to concerns for the rainwater drainage capacity of the roof in the event of heavy storms. Probyn Miers was commissioned by the insurers of the architect to investigate the position and to report on the design and construction of the roof.
Action: In conjunction with the other parties’ experts we investigated the design and had various parts of the roof opened up for further inspection in order to ascertain the construction. This ultimately led to the roof being stripped and fully redesigned and relayed.
Result: The dispute was ultimately settled by negotiation.


Client: National Contractor
Situation: Our client was a national contractor who had constructed many PFI schools. One such school was allegedly suffering a number of problems in terms of performance, particularly regarding the roof design and construction, classroom lighting and ventilation, and security. Probyn Miers was commissioned to investigate and to review the detailed design and construction of the building and to provide an overview in respect of remedial detailing.
Action: We were involved in extensive negotiations with the school and their advisors, and we continued to advise the contractor as they undertook remedial works.
Result: Our client undertook extensive remedial works to the school and the matter was ultimately settled.


Client: Film Director
Situation: A seafront award-winning private house was beset by problems of water ingress: through the external glazing and walling, through the ground and through the roof. We conducted an extensive review of the design and construction, including opening up certain areas of the building, in order to arrive at an understanding of the routes and causes of water ingress. Several tests were undertaken in the presence of experts for other parties in the dispute.
Action: Our investigations included tanking, stainless steel framed glazing systems, under floor heating, contiguous piled retaining wall construction and Caltite construction, and other roofing and water proofing.
Result: The case went to trial in Ireland and settled shortly after the commencement of the trial.


Client: Main contractor
Situation: A dispute arose between a main contractor and a specialist subcontractor over the repeated failure of asphalt waterproofing to the roof of a new build apartment block, with resulting internal damage.  Probyn Miers was required to provide an opinion on the standards of design and workmanship, and to analyse the causes of failure.
Action: Probyn Miers produced a report for adjudication.
Result: The adjudicator’s decision was partly in favour of the subcontractor.


Client: Solicitors for owners
Situation: The houses are situated on a sloping site, with the swimming pools at basement level, with their roofs providing garden terraces at the rear of the existing houses.   After the first winter in service, rainwater penetration and condensation from the cold roof construction caused damp patches to appear on the swimming pool ceiling, which worsened and lead to partial ceiling collapse.The primary defects were an inadequate waterproof membrane to the terrace, inadequate drainage of the waterproof membrane and the lack of an adequate vapour barrier below the structural deck.
Action: Probyn Miers was appointed as architect to identify and analyse the defects and to consider alternative strategies for remedial works, including inverted roofs and pressurised roofs, and their respective advantages and disadvantages.
Result: The case was settled by negotiation with the architect.


Client: A Local Authority
Situation: The school, which was built to replace an ageing and outdated secondary school was being offered for PC by the contractor but the Client was reluctant to accept certification on the grounds that much work remained to be done and that a number of leaks were apparent.
Action: Probyn Miers visited the building with the client and reviewed a number of areas of concern. In a preliminary report Probyn Miers identified a number of potential problems with the roof construction, health and safety issues with regard to fire doors and balustrades and various issues related to unfinished work and poor standards of finish.
Result: The contractor responded to the Probyn Miers report constructively and positively. He involved Bauder Roofing (the manufacturer of the specified proprietary roofing system) in addressing and resolving the issues with the roof. He installed new fire doors, having established that the doors installed were too small. He completed the outstanding items of work and improved the quality of the finishes in the critical areas that the Probyn Miers report identified.The contractor documented the extent of all this remedial work and this record was included in the O&M manuals for the project.


Client: Solicitors for the Architect’s PI insurers.
Situation: 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.

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