Court of Appeal rules against Amey over Birmingham battle

 

The Court of Appeal has found in favour of Birmingham City Council against Amey in a long running and occasionally bitter highways dispute, rejecting the company's 'ingenious new interpretation of the contract'.

Amey was contracted in 2010 to carry out a 25 year PFI contract for the city, and 'all went well for the first three and a half years' the Court reports.

However the partners fell out from 2014 onwards when it became clear the firm was not carrying out basic works the council felt it was obliged to.

Amey Birmingham Highways Ltd (ABHL) was 'deliberately leaving the defects in selected areas untreated' the court found and had 'been carrying out works based on inaccurate inventory information'.

The firm argued that certain sections of the contractual inventory data, which established the nature and condition of the network under its care, did not have to be updated under the letter of its contract and therefore had stopped updates to a computer system known as the Project Network Model (PNM).

The court found: 'Clause 5 of the contract required ABHL to satisfy themselves about the extent of the project network. That requirement only makes sense if ABHL were required to maintain the roads, footways, verges, kerbs and cycle tracks which actually existed.

'If ABHL were going to work for the next 25 years on the original unamended inventory in the PNM, there would be no point in satisfying themselves about the extent of the project network which actually existed.'

”Local

As a result the Court of Appeal reinstated judgements from a previous indepdent adjudicator in the case, who decision Amey had initially overturned by a deput High Court Judge in 2016. 

The Court of Appeal has made declarations 'to the same effect as the declarations made by the adjudicator, namely:

"(i) That ABHL's obligations to perform the Core Investment Works and meet the requirements of Performance Standard 1 extend to the Project Network as a whole and are not limited to the RSLs as recorded in the Project Network Model contained in DRD0626 [ the initial version of Project Network Model].

(ii) That ABHL must update the Project Network Model and maintain a Project Network Inventory which accurately reflects the actual extent of the Project Network and the Project Road.

(iii) That the Certificates of Completion for Milestones 6 to 9 inclusive be set aside, alternatively opened up, reviewed and revised and the relevant calculations performed again by reference to the actual Project Network Inventory."

The judgement is also notable for the way it addresses the spirit as well as the letter of such long-term local government 'relational contracts'.

'Any relational contract of this character is likely to be of massive length, containing many infelicities and oddities. Both parties should adopt a reasonable approach in accordance with what is obviously the long-term purpose of the contract. They should not be latching onto the infelicities and oddities, in order to disrupt the project and maximise their own gain,' lord Justice Jackson noted.

Cllr Stewart Stacey, Birmingham’s cabinet member for transport and roads, said: 'This is a significant step for the council in our aim of getting the level of investment into our roads that we believe should have been provided by Amey during the first five years of the contract. It fully justifies our decision to appeal the High Court judgment from 2016 and we now need to move forward in light of the Appeal Court ruling in getting the condition of our roads and footways to the standard that the people of Birmingham expect and deserve.'

An Amey spokesperson said: ‘In 2010 Amey embarked on a 25-year highways contract with Birmingham City Council. Since then, we have delivered significant investment in the city’s roads, which has seen considerable improvements to the network.

‘We have resurfaced 500 miles of carriageway – over one-third of Birmingham’s roads – and over 400 miles of pedestrian footway. We’ve also replaced 42,000 street lights, and over half of the city’s traffic signal systems. Amey has made a significant investment to upgrade the road network in and around Birmingham. We have completed a comprehensive programme of investment as part of a major infrastructure initiative, and it is one of the most capital intensive projects in Europe.

‘We have been involved in a dispute with Birmingham City Council over the last 24 months regarding the scope of our contractual obligations in the core investment period. Unfortunately, despite the High Court having found in our favour previously the ruling was overturned by an appeal.

‘Amey is disappointed at the outcome of the case, and has been preparing for all outcomes. We are currently considering all options for next steps. We remain committed to the market and all our clients. The issues raised in this dispute were very specific to the contract and its structure.’.

Register now for full access


Register just once to get unrestricted, real-time coverage of the issues and challenges facing UK transport and highways engineers.

Full website content includes the latest news, exclusive commentary from leading industry figures and detailed topical analysis of the highways, transportation, environment and place-shaping sectors. Use the link below to register your details for full, free access.

Already a registered? Login

 
comments powered by Disqus
 
 
highways jobs

Senior Clerk of Works

Bedford Borough Council
£27,905 - £30,507 + market rate supplement £2,630 per annum
Bedford is growing at a fast pace and we are investing heavily in our highways infrastructure. Bedford, Bedfordshire
Recuriter: Bedford Borough Council

Service Manager – Network Management

Somerset County Council
£46,122 per annum
A number of exciting permanent opportunities have arisen to drive forward further improvements to our traffic related services. Somerset
Recuriter: Somerset County Council

Principal Traffic Control Engineer

Somerset County Council
£33,799 to £37,849 per annum
A number of exciting permanent opportunities have arisen to drive forward further improvements to our traffic related services. Somerset
Recuriter: Somerset County Council

Assistant Engineer

Bedford Borough Council
£31,371 - £32,878 per annum
Bedford is growing at a fast pace and we are investing heavily in our highways infrastructure. Bedford, Bedfordshire
Recuriter: Bedford Borough Council

Senior Technician

Bedford Borough Council
£27,905 - £30,507 per annum
Bedford is growing at a fast pace and we are investing heavily in our highways infrastructure. Bedford, Bedfordshire
Recuriter: Bedford Borough Council

Engineering Technician

Bedford Borough Council
£24,313 - £26,999 per annum
Bedford is growing at a fast pace and we are investing heavily in our highways infrastructure. Bedford, Bedfordshire
Recuriter: Bedford Borough Council

Engineer – Multiple disciplines

Bedford Borough Council
£33,799 - £36,876 per annum
Bedford is growing at a fast pace and we are investing heavily in our highways infrastructure.  Bedford, Bedfordshire
Recuriter: Bedford Borough Council

Trainee Engineering Technician

Bedford Borough Council
£21,589 - £23,836 per annum
Bedford is growing at a fast pace and we are investing heavily in our highways infrastructure. Bedford, Bedfordshire
Recuriter: Bedford Borough Council

Senior Asset Engineer

Isle of Man Government
£47,064 - £54,805
The Isle of Man is a special place to live and work! Isle of Man (GB) (IM)
Recuriter: Isle of Man Government

Commercial Services Officer - Funerals

Brent Council
£33,291 - £35,724 p.a. inc. plus Standby Allowance
The post will be involved in all aspects of the funeral service Brent, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Brent Council

Transportation Planning Officer x2

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council
Band F, SCP 26-31 (£29,636 – £33,799 per annum) (£15.36 - £17.52 per hour)
The post holders will be part of a team developing transport policy encompassing all modes of travel Sandwell, West Midlands
Recuriter: Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

Highway Asset Engineer

Lambeth Council
£38,403 pa rising in annual increments to £41,466 pa incl LW
Lambeth is a vibrant place with a diverse population and an exciting cultural scene. Lambeth, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Lambeth Council

Senior Traffic Engineer

East Riding of Yorkshire Council
£32.029 - £34.788 career grade
We need an enthusiastic and experienced traffic engineer to manage our Traffic Team. East Riding of Yorkshire
Recuriter: East Riding of Yorkshire Council

Senior Community Infrastructure Levy Administration Officer

London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth
£32,643 - £44,373
The successful candidate will play a key role in ensuring Richmond and Wandsworth Councils mitigate the... London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth

Principal Information and Monitoring Officer

London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth
£40,183-£47,274 (Grade PO5)
Opportunity has arisen within the Spatial and Transport Planning service for a team leader with demonstrable practical experience of... London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth

Senior Community Infrastructure Levy Administration Officer

London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth
£32,643-£44,373 (Linked Grade PO2- PO4)
There has never been a more challenging – or rewarding – time to work for Richmond and Wandsworth.  London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth

Senior Engineer – Highways Development Service (HDS)

North Yorkshire County Council
£38,813 - £42,683 pa
We are looking for someone to join the Development Management Team in a new post. Northallerton, North Yorkshire
Recuriter: North Yorkshire County Council

Senior Development Management Engineer – Section 38

Warwickshire County Council
£37,849 - £39,782
Due to the nature of the role the ability to travel effectively throughout Warwickshire is essential. Warwick, Warwickshire
Recuriter: Warwickshire County Council

Partnerships & Activities Manager

London Borough of Bexley
£31,353 - £36,876
Currently seeking an experienced manager to work in the Parks and Open Spaces Team of Bexley Council’s Communities Department. Bexley (City/Town), London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Bexley

Chartered Environmental Health Traineeships– 3 Jobs

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
National Minimum Wage (Age appropriate) plus enhancements for night time working
This traineeship opportunity is for graduates to undertake the new Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH)... Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council