Contractor loses significant High Court building defects case

Norton Rose Fulbright has won a hugely significant cladding case on behalf of Martlet Homes, in what is the first High Court judgment on a claim concerning fire safety defects in a high rise building since the Grenfell Tower disaster in 2017.

Martlet is part of the Hyde Housing Group, one of the largest housing associations in England, owning or managing around 50,000 homes in London, Kent, Surrey, Sussex, Hampshire, the East of England and East Midlands.

This is a significant win for many UK building owners facing similar building safety and defects issues; holding wider implications in the construction and real estate sectors, as well for insurers, as it offers much needed guidance on the court’s approach to numerous significant issues affecting the hundreds of ongoing building safety disputes.

Martlet’s claim against Mulalley concerned defective design and installation of cladding manufactured by Sto Ltd, which was installed by Mulalley at four high rise residential towers in Portsmouth. Despite Mulalley’s wholesale denial of liability for Martlet’s losses, High Court judge HHJ Stephen Davies held that Martlet had succeeded on both its primary and alternative cases, and awarded Martlet substantial damages for the remedial works it undertook to address the defects in the cladding system.

The judge additionally awarded Martlet damages for the substantial costs of its temporary waking watch service.

Simon Ramsden, partner at Norton Rose Fulbright, said: “We’re extremely proud of the role our team played in delivering this outcome on behalf of the Hyde Group, which we hope will promote the resolution of the many cladding-related disputes thanks to the court’s guidance delivered today.”

The Norton Rose Fulbright team was led by partner Simon Ramsden and counsel Amy Armitage, with support from associate Sarah Gosling and solicitor apprentice Jake Burke.

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