Architect says contractors to blame for faults at National Museum of Liverpool
http://www.bdonline.co.uk/news/aew-defends-its-museum-design/5031782.article Courtesy of our friends at Building Design.
The architect blamed for a host of problems that have plagued the newly opened National Museum of Liverpool (NML) has said they were the fault of contractors and nothing to do with the building’s design.
The £72 million landmark opened last summer but has been blighted by a series of faults, including dangerous and defective outdoor steps and ceiling problems linked to a collapse that injured a workman.
Owner and operator, the Board of Trustees of National Museums & Galleries on Merseyside, issued a £3.5 million writ to Manchester practice AEW last autumn.
But, in a counter-claim filed at the High Court at the end of last month, AEW hit back, defending the design and blaming the project’s contractors.
AEW, brought in to finish the project after the original architect, 3XN, was removed from the project, dismissed the museum’s allegations that the system used for the building’s suspended ceiling was dangerous and a “material cause” of its collapse.
“The [ceiling] panels were not prone to failure by reason of any design exercise undertaken by AEW,” it said. “To the extent that there are any deficiencies in the suspended ceiling, they are the responsibility of [the contractor]. The panels were not prone to catastrophic collapse as a result of any failure by AEW.”
In its claim, AEW said parts of the museum’s allegations were “vague, insufficiently particularised and embarrassing”.
In its claim, the museum said it would need to replace precast steps and the entrance terrace because of AEW’s “defective” design. It added the steps were unsafe and rainwater leaked through them into rooms below.
But AEW said the design of the steps and terrace was not defective and added that remedial work undertaken by the museum had caused a waterproof membrane to leak.
“There was no need to remedy the steps and terraces,” it said. “The closure of the area to the public was unnecessary as was the removal of substantial sections of the step and seat units. Leaving the membrane exposed and without any protection will cause deterioration and risk of damage.”
AEW said the contractor had cast the steps in the wrong shape and size, which prevented their installation in accordance with the design.
“The original design for the steps and seats could have been built had [the contractor] correctly manufactured the step and seat units,” it added.
The architect went on to say that it would seek a separate order for costs from NML “to the extent that additional costs are incurred by reason of NML’s refusal to provide the further information requested”.
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