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Defending a defective work claim prepared using an extrapolation method

Joint venture (two main contractors)
Construction claims
London, United Kingdom
£800m alliance contract
Infrastructure (water)

Our expertise was called upon to defend an £80m claim made against a joint venture comprising of a global construction and engineering organisation, and a wastewater infrastructure company.

Potential impacts on future business plans

The claim was made by a major water and sewage service provider on their allegation that the quality of work on several projects wasn’t up to standard. The claimant alleged that leak repairs in pipework had not been carried out in accordance with regulations, which devalued its asset.

As the full extent of the alleged damage wasn’t known, due to the pipework being buried, so the claimant provided a sample of issues alongside a report showing potential defects and extrapolated these across the entire scheme. The impact of the claim had the potential to significantly impact the financial return our client was expecting to earn.

Investigating a period covering four years

The volume of data provided by the claimant was extensive and covered a period of four years, which accounted for thousands of individual jobs. Given the scale of the undertaking, the first step was to analyse the basis of the claim.

We thoroughly investigated the 750 defective samples that were gathered, which involved analysing contemporaneous photographs of work undertaken. An extensive report was prepared that allowed key stakeholders within our client's organisation to understand the extent of their risk. An executive summary and appendices were provided alongside the report.

We then prepared a response, concluding that that whilst there were a very small number of isolated issues, these were insufficient to conclude that that work across the entire network was defective to the extent claimed.. Our line-by-line analysis determined that the claimant’s report was incomplete, and its outcomes were misleading. We found that the defects were minimal and did not materially impact the water network.

Gaining clarity over a complicated issue

As a result of our efforts, we helped our client make sense of a very complicated issue.

We supported the project leadership in presenting the response to the board and we addressed all questions about the risk.

Our robust analysis and the level of detail in our report gave our client the confidence to defend the claim and negotiate a successful outcome.

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What our client said...

"It was the quality of the written work which impressed me most. These were technically complex issues but the reports were concise and well written."

Head of Commercial Operations

"The willingness to go through the detail was appreciated. It gave me additional capacity, which I needed because of the volume of issues."

Project Director