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Failed Canning Town action could cost LUL 5M

LONDON UNDERGROUND could face legal costs of up to 5M after a judge dismissed claims that consultant Kenchington Ford had over designed the concourse slab for Canning Town Station on the Jubilee Line Extension.

Judge Wilcox of the Technology & Construction Court threw out LUL's claim last week and upheld a counter claim for non-payment of fees from WSP.

As a result LUL has to pay the consultant 448,000 in unpaid fees plus interest and costs. WSP and sub consultant Harris & Sutherland are thought to have incurred more than 2M in costs and LUL is thought to have spent similar sums.

LUL originally brought the case against Kenchington Ford in September 1996, before the firm was taken over by WSP. It followed a claim for extra fees made by the consultant in April 1994.

The client had refused to pay the extra fees and had alleged that the over-design of the station's concourse slab by Kenchington Ford was negligent and had delayed construction work by contractor John Mowlem. LUL is thought to have claimed damages running into millions of pounds for the hold-up.

Kenchington Ford counter claimed for money spent on changes demanded by LUL. It also claimed that vital information on ground conditions was withheld until very late in the design process.

WSP managing director Chris Cole said the settlement was around half that originally claimed. Kenchington Ford's reinforcement detailing subcontractor Harris & Sutherland was also cleared of negligence by the judgement. The judge ruled Harris & Sutherland's work showed 'no departure from the standard of the competent and conscientious consultant engineer'.

In a statement LUL said: 'Naturally we are pleased that (WSP's) fees have been substantially reduced. As to our own claim, London Underground were advised to bring the case as a lot of public money was at stake. We are very disappointed with the judgement and we have to consider it carefully.'

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