In the recent case of Beattie Passive Norse Ltd (BPN) & Anor v Canham Consulting Ltd  EWHC 1116 (TCC), Mr. Justice Fraser awarded the sum of £2000 to the claimants BPN, who were originally seeking £3.7m.
BPN and their shareholder, NPS Property Consulting Ltd (“NPS”) brought a claim for negligence and a breach of contract against Canham Consulting Ltd (“Canham”). BPN and NPS owned two blocks of buildings in Burwash, Sussex: Block A and Block B.
Canham was hired to construct Block A and Block B’s foundation designs which BPN and NPS argued was professionally negligent. This then led to the demolition and rebuilding of Blocks A and B. BPN argued that this led to a total loss of approximately £3.7 million.
Breaking the chain of causation
There were a number of issues that broke the chain of causation between Canham’s foundation designs and the decision by BPN and NPS to demolish and rebuild.
The contractor, Foxdown Engineering Ltd (“Foxdown”), received an outdated revision (Revision A) of the foundation designs from BPN rather than the updated construction drawings (Revision B) made by Canham. Rather than the more robust design of Revision B being used, Revision A was issued for construction.
Instead of remediating the defects in Canham’s design, Block A and B were both demolished and this led to further expenditure on the construction project, incurring millions of pounds.
Despite the negligent defects in Canham’s design which fell below the expectations of a reasonably competent engineer in the design of the foundations, these defects could have been remediated without demolishing the Blocks. Block A and Block B had a wide range of other construction defects that had nothing to do with Canham’s design of the foundations. With an emphasis on Block A’s structure being extremely poor that it would have needed to be demolished irrespective of the negligent designs from Canham.
Why BNP and NPS were awarded £2,000
The causation between Canham’s designs and the costs incurred in the decision to demolish Block A and Block B could not be linked. The judge, however, awarded £2,000 to the claimants for the costs of the remedial works that should have been made to Block B’s foundation for the negligent designs.
BPN’s structural expert was extremely subjective with the evidence. The judge found that this expert had exaggerated the evidence in support of BPN’s claims.
About the author
Iain heads Beeston Shenton Solicitors’ commercial litigation department.
Iain has 30 years of experience in Commercial Debt Recovery and Insolvency fields having worked in both Private Practice and Industry and has extensive experience working across all industry sectors and has particular expertise in working with Insolvency Practitioners in advising and recovering outstanding insolvent company ledgers.
Iain brings a pragmatic and commercial approach to legal claims and disputes.
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