The High Court has ruled in favour of the leaseholder of the Hilton Manchester Deansgate and ordered the property's freeholder to undertake a permanent repair to exterior glass panels on the hotel element of the 47-storey building.
Designed by SimpsonHaugh Architects, Beetham Tower in which the hotel is located, is the tallest building in Manchester. It was built in 2006 by main contractor Carillion and sub-contractor Bug, with Hilton occupying the first 23 floors and apartments located above.
In 2014 it was discovered the sealant on the building's glass panels was failing. A temporary, emergency repair was undertaken, which involved screwing plates to the frames to secure the panels, in November 2014.
However, an investigation by Carillion to carry out a permanent repair was not completed when the company went into liquidation in January 2018.
Blue Manchester, which owns the lease on the 279-bedroom property, expressed continued concerns over the safety of the panels, the unsightly appearance of the temporary plates, and the safety barriers and hoardings at ground level that have been erected at the hotel for the last four years, which it says obstructs both views into and out of the hotel and access to it. As a result, it sued the freeholder, North West Ground Rents, on the basis that it was compelled to undertake works under the repairing covenant in the lease.
North West Ground Rents argued the plates were a "sufficient remedial solution" while it pursued claims against Carillion's insurers and Bug, which it hopes will enable it to fund a permanent solution.
His Honour Judge Stephen Davies ruled that North West Ground Rents now should undertake permanent repairs to the building and that Blue Manchester is entitled to damages from the freeholder in respect of the continued presence of hoardings at the site and as a result of interference to the water supply in January 2017.
David Marsden of Freeths, solicitor for Blue Manchester, said: "North West Ground Rents (NWGR) are responsible for the glazing on this building and key strategy decisions were made by the parent company involving James Agar and Malcolm Naish. A defect was identified a number of years ago and a temporary solution was put in place.
"We have been working hard over the last four years to try to get NWGR to implement a permanent solution but unfortunately we had to go to court to get this done.
"The court has now agreed with my client that the permanent solution has taken too long and have ordered NWGR to do it.
"We are disappointed that NWGR did not simply agree to it voluntarily but we are obviously happy with the result and with an immediate payment of £250,000 towards our costs. It is business as usual at the hotel and the hoarding at the front will now be taken down."Get The Caterer every week on your smartphone, tablet, or even in good old-fashioned hard copy (or all three!).