Legal action taken over €18.5m cost of fixing Barrow bridge ‘design errors’
Posted on 8th June 2020 at 21:21
Alleged errors led to 10-month delay in completion of N25 link between Kilkenny and Wexford
A claim for €18.5 million for the cost of remedying alleged errors in the design and quantities specified at the tender phase of the Barrow bridge between Wexford and Kilkenny has come before the Commercial Court.
The alleged errors meant the bridge was “significantly more difficult” to build and its design had to be substantially re-engineered during the construction phase, resulting in very significant additional construction cost and a completion delay of some 10 months, it is claimed.
The bridge opened to traffic on January 30th 2020.
The estimated cost of remedying the alleged deficiencies in the design phase, and the cost incurred by delay in completion, will exceed €18.5 million, the plaintiffs claim.
The proceedings are by three construction companies — Dragados Ireland Ltd, with an address at Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, Dublin; BAM Civil Ltd, Kill, Co Kildare, and Dragados SA, with an address in Madrid, Spain.
The action is against three Spanish entities, Carlos Fernandez Casado SL (CFC); Eptisa Servicios De Ingeneria SL (Eptisa) and Siegrist Y Moreno SL (SYM), all with registered offices at different addresses in Madrid. SYM is said to be in liquidation.
Among various claims, the plaintiffs allege breach of contract and negligence in the provision of design services at the tender phase in relation to the 887 metre long bridge, part of the N25 New Ross bypass. It is claimed CFC and Eptisa formed an unincorporated joint venture to carry out design and construction of the New Ross bypass road scheme, which included the Barrow bridge.
CFC, it is claimed, is a Spanish engineering firm involved in bridge design and it was engaged to provide design services, specifically the design and provision of quantities for the bridge. During construction it became apparent the design and/or bridge quantities prepared at tender phase were incorrect, it is claimed.
It is claimed the concrete strength class advised by CFC for the deck of the bridge at tender stage had to be increased at construction stage at great cost to the first two plaintiffs. The tonnage of steel reinforcement, the tonnage of post tensioning strands and the overall length of longitudinal ducting increased by between 80 and 110 per cent, it is claimed.
Eptisa and SYM had each issued a design check certificate in September 2014 in respect of the CFC conceptual design, it is alleged. The plaintiffs say the precise roles of each of the defendants may not be clear until the discovery process is completed.
When the proceedings came before Mr Justice David Barniville on Monday, he agreed to admit them to the fast-track Commercial Court list. No objection to admission was raised but lawyers for the first two defendants raised issues whether the case was being brought prematurely, sought directions on service, and asked that the Spanish coronavirus lockdown be taken into account in relation to time schedules for legal documents.
The judge made directions for exchange of legal documents and will make further directions on a later date.
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