By Shane McGinley
Atkins has been accused of 'alleged negligence' in relation to the blaze four years ago
The British firm involved in the design and construction of The Address Downtown hotel is being sued for negligence in a Dubai court after the building went on fire during New Year's Eve celebrations in 2015.
The Address Downtown reopened its doors in June 2018, following a fire at the hotel on the eve of December 31, 2015.
The fire was deemed to have been caused by an electrical short circuit on a spotlight and owners Emaar Hospitality Group submitted a AED1.22 billion insurance claim following the blaze.
According to its official website, British firm Atkins “supplied architecture, civil and structural engineering, MEP engineering and construction supervision services” for the hotel, which opened in 2008.
According to Q3 financial results filed by Canadian firm SNC-Lavalin, which bought Atkins in 2017, “WS Atkins & Partners Overseas, a subsidiary of the Company, has been named as respondent together with other parties by the subrogated insurers of a former customer in a civil case initiated before the courts of Dubai.”
The filing added that the owner of The Address Downtown “is seeking damages jointly from the respondents on account of the alleged refurbishment costs and loss of income arising from a fire at the customer’s building. WS Atkins & Partners Overseas was involved in the hotel’s design and construction supervision and the claim revolves around alleged negligence in the specification, testing and installation of the building cladding which is claimed to have exacerbated the fire, thereby increasing the damage to the building”.
A SNC-Lavalin spokesperson confirmed to Arabian Business on Tuesday that legal action related to The Address Downtown has been launched but “as the case is ongoing it is inappropriate for us to comment at this stage”.
While the spokesperson did not name who the claimant was, a report by the Mail Online stated it is believed to be Emaar, the developer behind the hotel and the surrounding Downtown Dubai area.
Arabian Business has contacted Emaar for comment.