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Grimshaw in 'battle ofWaterloo'

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NEWS

Nicholas Grimshaw & Partners ( NGP ) has told Eurostar that problems with glass in its awardwinning Waterloo International Terminal are nothing to do with the practice,after a writ was served against it last week.

The architect insisted it would fight the High Court claim,which could run into millions ofpounds,served last week by the station owner to five defendants.The claim is for breach ofcontract and covers problems with glass panelling in the snaking glass canopy walls and roof.The other defendants are Tarmac ( BA ),Briggs Amasco Curtainwall,Tarmac Holdings and Bovis Construction.

But NGP strongly defended its sleek design, which won around 10 awards including recognition in the British Construction Industry Awards and from the American Institute ofArchitects.

It released a terse but adamant press notice that said:'We understand that the problem lies with the glass.This is nothing to do with us and we deny that we have any responsibility.We believe that others have been included in the claim in connection with this.'

It went on:'We have been helping Eurostar to find a solution to this issue for some time and are disappointed with their response.IfEurostar seriously intends to pursue a claim it will be vigorously contested.'It would make no further comment.

Eurostar said it was looking at a sum 'in the millions'that would cover the costs ofinvestigation,protection and remedial work.It was seeking 'to recover from Waterloo's architect,construction manager and relevant trade contractors and parent companies,where appropriate,costs associated with investigating and rectifying defects in Waterloo's train shed roofand internal and external glass walls,'said the claim.

Parts ofthe terminal have been shrouded in tarpaulins for several months in case ofdanger to passengers.Eurostar said very few ofthe panels were affected,but some sheets in the walls and roofhad 'suffered nickel sulphide stone expansion growth which has led to their failure.'The railway firm also said methods ofinstallation ofthe glass panels had led to a 'significant number ofdefects such as damaged panels,incorrect tolerances, loose,missing,misaligned and damaged fittings and damaged sealants.'

Eurostar's solicitor,Clifford Chance,said a remedial scheme would have to be finalised before detailed costs could be worked out.'What they have is a temporary solution in place protecting passengers and employees,'said solicitor Tim Maddock.'The building is designed to last 125 years and the temporary measures would need replacing every two or three years.'

He said:'The whole thing is not exactly a design problem,it is the nature ofthe glass specified and the problems with that glass.'However,he added:

'I'm not going to discuss strategy or reasoning,but you can rest assured someone was involved in the choice ofglass.'

A spokesman for Tarmac said:'The writ has been served,we are looking at it and there is no public statement beyond that.'Bovis refused to comment.

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