Lucy Colter and Will Cook successful in duty of care preliminary issue: Multiplex v Bathgate & others

Lucy Colter and Will Cook successful in duty of care preliminary issue: Multiplex v Bathgate & others [2021] EWHC 590 (TCC)

Lucy Colter and Will Cook acted for Argo, the insurers of RNP Associates Ltd, an independent design checker, in the trial of preliminary issues against Multiplex Construction Europe Limited before Mr Justice Fraser in the TCC.

Multiplex brought claims against Argo amongst others in respect of the failure of a slipform rig used in the construction of a 40-storey tower at 100 Bishopsgate. It alleged that while RNP had only contracted with the D&B subcontractor Dunne for the concrete package of works to provide independent design checks, it owed a duty of care and/or had provided warranties to Multiplex in providing independent check certificates, raising fact-specific arguments in respect of whether this was a “contractual chain” case together with more far-reaching arguments about the significance of independent checks and the provision of certificates up the contractual chain. Argo sought a trial of preliminary issues in this respect, and after a three day trial in the TCC, the Judge answered both preliminary issues in the negative, holding that RNP owed no duty of care to Multiplex and owed it no warranties.

This judgment is of significance to construction professionals and their insurers, confirming that parties providing independent design checks or design services in respect of a discrete aspect of a construction project will not, without more, assume responsibility to parties with whom they have not contracted to prevent economic loss.

Case note here (by Will Cook).