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British Pavilion backer faces court claim for unpaid fees on Soho job

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Munkenbeck+Partners Architects is suing a company co-founded by one of the sponsors of this year’s British Pavilion at the Venice Biennale for a share of almost £1 million in unpaid fees

Practice chief Alfred Munkenbeck is seeking the money for work on the redevelopment of the 1930s Grade II-listed Marshall Street Baths in London’s Soho and a neighbouring commercial and 52-home scheme on a car park site in Poland Street.

Munkenbeck claims he has not been given a ‘final costing’ on which to base his percentage fees and believes he is owed up to £868,292 plus interest from Vinyl Factory, its subsidiary Marshall Street Regeneration Limited (MSRL), and construction services company ISG Group.

The AJ understands the case, which was launched earlier this year, is currently on hold as the parties attempt to thrash out a settlement through mediation.

Vinyl Factory, the independent music, arts and events company, which also develops space for the creative and media industries, was set up by Mark Wadhwa – a backer of the British Pavilion at the 2014 Venice Biennale.

According to documents filed with the Technology and Construction Court, the fees being sought include work by Munkenbeck’s former practice Munkenbeck + Marshall Architects, which first became involved in the project in 2004.

The allegations revolve around intricate – and disputed – arrangements to fund work on the project, initially with Vinyl Factory, and subsequently with MSRL and then with ISG. The practice argues it is owed up to £525,694 from ISG in relation to the main element of its work, as defined by a 2008 agreement.

It also wants up to £196,683 from Vinyl Factory and ISG for initial work on the baths element of the scheme – to which architect Finch Forman was ultimately appointed. It is seeking a further £145,645 for additional work not covered by the 2008 agreement.

Vinyl Factory and MSRL deny the claims. ISG also disputes the claims and has made a counterclaim seeking return of an ‘overpayment’ of £447,486 made to the practice, and damages of £412,484 for ‘defective/incomplete design’.

Munkenbeck told the AJ that the practice had brought the case to ‘force’ the defendants to produce a final costing for the project on which fees could be based.

Vinyl Factory, MSRL and ISG declined to comment.

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