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Dropped Dome cladder wins appeal

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THREE UK Appeal court judges have overturned a ruling which had barred German Fabric structure specialist Koch Hightex from claiming compensation after its contract to clad the Millennium dome was terminated.

A previous judgment in the High Court had said that Koch was not entitled to claim compensation after the contract was terminated in August 1997.

Koch was to have produced a PVC/Polyester-based covering for the Dome but this was later changed to a PTFE/glass fabric structure, deemed longer lasting and more environmentally suitable. This has since been installed by Japanese-owned American firm Birdair.

The Appeal Court judges dismissed Dome developer New Millennium Experience Company's view that it had no liability following a 'no-fault' cancellation of the original contract.

NMEC must now negotiate compensation with the German firm which is claiming up to ú2.25M ($3.7M) for four months of design and preparation work plus loss of profit.

In a statement an NMEC spokesman said that 'not withstanding the court case the company had been entitled to terminate the agreement.'

A second case may now follow in which Koch will claim that it should also have won the second, replacement, roofing contract for PTFE/glass fabric. It had bid for this work.

This High Court case, started before the other was heard, was suspended due to lack of money required to be paid into court in advance.

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