By Sarah Townsend
Latest ruling permits DIFC to pursue Dubai Courts case against Canadian developer
The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) is embroiled in legal action with Canadian developer Brookfield Multiplex over alleged faults in the latter’s construction of the Gate Building in 2003.
Part of the Gate, a public arch marking entrance to the DIFC complex, has been closed since October when a marble slab fell from the building. The area around the building has since been cordoned off.
According to a ruling from DIFC Courts on July 28, the DIFC had filed a case in Dubai Courts claiming the collapse of marble cladding on the south side of the Gate “endangered the safety and lives of workers and visitors”.
The case alleged that the collapse was “due to various material defects in the works performed by [Brookfield Multiplex] and furthermore constitutes negligence and error on the part of the [architect Gensler] hired to design and oversee the project”, according to the ruling.
The DIFC further alleged that Brookfield Multiplex had “committed irregularities in technical and engineering works, which caused substantial damage to the building and endangered the safety of the building and its workers”.
The ruling explained that DIFC had enlisted engineers Arup to lead an investigation into the incident, which allegedly concluded the collapse of the slab was caused by “common and widespread defective workmanship”.
The DIFC had written to Brookfield Multiplex and Gensler “seeking an acknowledgement of liability, proposals for remedying the alleged defects and stating that it intended to apply to the Dubai Courts for the appointment of an expert to inspect and report on the affected parts of the Gate building”, according to the court documents, which add that Brookfield Multiplex denies liability.
The DIFC Courts case came after the UAE subsidiary of Brookfield Multiplex applied for an injunction there to stop the DIFC taking further action in Dubai Courts.
The developer claimed that the DIFC’s legal action was in breach of clauses contained in the construction contract.
However, DIFC Courts judge Justice Cooke ruled in favour of the DIFC, deciding an injunction was not required and effectively permitting the DIFC to continue its case.
His judgment said: “I have therefore come to the clear conclusion that it cannot be said that [the DIFC] are in breach of the arbitration agreement in the construction contract and in those circumstances there is not only no need, but no basis for any anti-suit injunction to be granted preventing the pursuit of the lawsuit.”
Brookfield Multiplex and lawyers for the DIFC have been contacted for comment.
As well as the Gate Building, Brookfield Multiplex is developing the $1 billion ICD Brookfield Place scheme in DIFC in a joint venture with Dubai sovereign wealth fund, Investment Corporation of Dubai.
The 1.5 million square foot office and retail development behind the Ritz Carlton hotel has been designed by architects at Foster & Partners and is scheduled to complete in 2018.
if a top quality property investment company and top quality architects build a top quality landmark in the city that has these dangerous issues, I just hope other structures built by 'less known' big name companies are safer.
A classic case of closing the unstable gate after the marble course has unbolted.