Cambridgeshire County Council this week rejected Bam Nuttall’s assertion that the council’s project manager Atkins was responsible for delays to its guided busway scheme.
It said the contractor’s argument bears “little or no connection with reality”.
The council was responding to Bam Nuttall’s defence and counter claim document lodged at the Technology and Construction Court by the council and seen by NCE this week.
The council document says that Bam Nuttall “…for a period of three years, failed to co-operate with the project manager” Atkins and that this lack of co-operation “stemmed from Bam Nuttall’s realisation that many of its alleged compensation events would not hold up to scrutiny…and/or the assessments put forward could not reasonably be supported”.
Bam Nuttall had previously claimed that Atkins had “failed to act independently and fairly and/ or to act as stated in the contract in the spirit of mutual trust and co-operation” (NCE 1 May 2012). The council appointed Atkins as project manager and supervisor and the consultant was also tender designer and was “instrumental” in writing the contract, according to Bam Nuttall’s documents.
The Bam Nuttall documents say that the failings of the project manager were “serious and numerous”. They claim that Atkins failed to issue instructions reflecting requirements that the council imposed on it at numerous meetings and in correspondence with which Bam Nuttall had to comply.
But the council rejects this. “The council makes the obvious point that had the events now relied upon occurred and had the effect now alleged… an apparently experienced contractor would have notified the project manager of such matters at the time,” states its reply.
The dispute began in August 2011, when the council claimed £54.7M for a two year delay. This was brought about by its refusal to accept handover of the project. In a statement, Atkins said it was confident that it “always acted in the best interests of the project”. The case is expected to reach court in January 2014. Bam Nuttall has declined to comment.