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Legal action over McLaren Building

Morgan Lovell is being sued for more than £1.3 million over allegations of failures with the air conditioning system installed in the McLaren Building, Birmingham.

The office design-and-build specialist, part of the Morgan Sindall group, was engaged by Bruntwood 2000 Beta Portfolio under a £4m contract signed in 2009, to carry out refurbishment works on the 21-storey building in the centre of Birmingham.

The owner of the property, built in the 1970s, alleges that Morgan Lovell was negligent and/or in breach of contract by failing to properly design, install and/or commission the air conditioning system.

Bruntwood says there were “persistent problems” with the air conditioning, and says the issues had an “appreciable effect” on their ability to lease office space, and exposed them to a danger of losing tenants.

In a claim filed at the Technology and Construction Court in mid-October, Bruntwood claims around £1.3m in temporary heating costs, remedial works costs, lost management time, loss of income, and opportunity cost, as well as damages, interest and costs.

Morgan Lovell was selected to begin work in August 2008. Bruntwood alleges it experienced “significant problems” with the air conditioning from May 2009.

The list of allegations levelled at Morgan Lovell includes:

  • Failing to design and install a heating system that was capable of properly heating the property.
  • Failing to ensure reasonable energy efficiency standards.
  • Failure to ensure the system and its operation complied with the requirements of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, with regard to reasonable temperatures during working hours.

Bruntwood alleges that even after Morgan Lovell carried out remedial works in mid-2010, compressor failures continued to occur in the system.

The claim says Bruntwood then carried out further remedial works with MSS Building Services.

Neither party wished to comment when contacted by H&V News.

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