Search

How can we help?

Icon

Claiming for the cost of replacing cladding   

Much attention and concern has focussed on the use of combustible cladding in high rise buildings since the Grenfell Tower tragedy in 2017 where a fire destroyed the  24-storey block of flats in North Kensington and 72 people died. This prompted an independent review of building regulations and fire safety and local governments have investigated other tower blocks to find those that have similar cladding. Efforts to replace the cladding on these buildings are ongoing. The recent Technology and Construction Court  TCC decision in Martlet Homes Limited v Mulalley & Co Limited is the first occasion where the Court has considered a claim for the cost of replacing such cladding.   

Martlet’s was the owner of five 1960s tower blocks. Mulalley, as design and build contractor, had installed StoTherm Classic (external wall insulation comprising expanded polystyrene) as part of refurbishment works in 2005.   

Following the Grenfell Fire, Martlet replaced the cladding with non-combustible stone wall insulation and instituted a ‘waking watch’ until these works were completed.  It successfully claimed from Mulalley the cost of the works, totalling approximately £8 million. 

Martlet’s claim included: 

  • Mullalley’s installation of the cladding system and its cavity barriers was defective 
  • The use of StoTherm Classic did not meet the fire standards in place at the date of the contract 

The judgment is particularly timely in the light of the extended limitation periods and causes of action introduced by the Building Safety Act 2022, which may open the door to other similar claims. 

Both claims succeeded.  Although every claim will be decided on its own facts and merits, the decision gives a helpful indication of the principles that the Court is likely to apply in other cladding disputes. 

  • The Building Regulations 2000 included an obligation for external walls to resist the spread of fire, taking into account the height, use and position of the building 
  • A British Board of Agrément certificate is not a guarantee of compliance with Building Regulations 
  • An action can still be negligent even it was common practice in the industry at the time 
  • The cost of a waking watch is reasonably foreseeable and likely to awarded as a separate head of loss 

The judgment is particularly timely in the light of the extended limitation periods and causes of action introduced by the Building Safety Act 2022, which may open the door to other similar claims.   

 

 

About this article

Disclaimer
This information is for guidance purposes only and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. Please refer to the full General Notices on our website.

About this article

Read, listen and watch our latest insights

art
  • 19 June 2024
  • Employment

Are your employee benefits attracting and retaining top talent

The country’s economic outlook continues to improve, but many companies and employees are still under pressure due to high inflation and the resulting cost of living crisis.

art
  • 18 June 2024
  • Employment

Clarkslegal representing UK employers on the global stage

I recently returned from the 112th Session of the International Labour Organisation’s International Labour Conference (ILC) in Geneva, which I had the privilege of attending with the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), in order to represent UK employers on this global stage.

art
  • 17 June 2024
  • Employment

Pride Month

June has been a month of dreary wet weather.  Luckily, the vibrant colours and messages of acceptance for the LGBTQ+ community have been something to celebrate, despite the weather!

art
  • 12 June 2024
  • Privacy and Data Protection

UK data protection: Important basics

Sometimes, data protection can seem like unhelpful red tape. At other times, it is critical to cultivating a trustworthy reputation.

art
  • 11 June 2024
  • Immigration

UK Immigration Roundup – May to June 2024

As the UK approaches the upcoming general election, immigration remains a focal issue in political discussions. The Conservative party’s recent proposal to cap visas for skilled migrant workers has alarmed various industries who are concerned that a limit to migration could harm vital sectors of the UK economy.

Pub
  • 06 June 2024
  • Employment

Talking Employment Law: What does the new Worker Protection Act 2023 mean for employers?

In this podcast, Lucy Densham Brown and Shauna Jones, members of the employment team, will review the new Worker Protection Act 2023 and provide some guidance on how employers should review their policies in preparation for October.