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Quashquell Construction Limited (QQ) is a well-known UK registered propertydeveloper in Manchester, which specialises in brownfield development. For thepast ten years, it has successfully developed a number of retail parks across anumber of reclaimed lands in different cities in the United Kingdom. The companyhas seen a decline in business during the past year and a half due to fearsassociated with the impending BREXIT referendum and its potential implications.The Board of QQ decided in October 2015 to sell its three-storey office buildingsituated in Salford and move to Hull, where several of its new projects arelocated. It purchased an old Victorian building in Hull to be used as its newbusiness premises from 1 March 2016. The property needed majorrefurbishment; the rooms had to be converted into offices, the ceiling refitted andthe staircase repaired. A central heating system also needed to be installed. QQcontracted a local construction firm, Retro Salvagers Ltd (RSL), to carry out therefurbishment costing £50000. Under the agreement, all works were to becompleted by 25 February 2016. This was to enable QQ to honour its contractualobligations to give vacant possession of the property in Salford to a buyer. It wasfurther agreed that for each day that the completion is delayed, there will be adeduction of 4.5% from the contract price. QQ requested a quote from Dapar Heating Systems Ltd (DHS) for the purchaseand installation of a central heating system. In response to concerns by QQregarding energy efficiency of the heating system proposed by DHS, the salerepresentative of DHS stated: ‘This system is tried and tested; none other beats itand it’s even better on energy efficiency. You should recover the installation costin two years’. Impressed by this comment, QQ entered into an agreement withDHS for the system to be installed on or before 25 February 2016, failing whichDHS is to pay a lump sum of £1200 for any delay in completion. There was noexpress provision regarding energy efficiency in the actual contract. RSL failed to complete the refurbishment by the due date. Thus, QQ was unableto move into the premises as expected. To make the Salford property available tothe buyer, QQ had to move its operations to the conference hall of a nearby hotelin Hull for ten days pending completion of its new office building, incurring cost of£4700 in rent for the ten days and about £500 per day in profits. In themeantime, DHS had its experienced engineers tied up on another job until fewdays before the agreed deadline for the installation of the central heating systemand thus were unable to complete the job until a week after QQ’s workers hadmoved into the new office. QQ had to hire four mobile heaters at £100 per day asthe new office building was cold and damp. The new heating systemmalfunctioned three weeks after it was installed. Once again, QQ had to rely onthe mobile heaters for another working week. DHS officials assured QQ that thesystem will ‘stabilise after a while...’ QQ requested an independent expert toexamine/assess the heating system due to its persistent malfunctioning. A dayafter physical inspection of the heating system was conducted by theindependent expert, and before the assessment report could be issued, theheating system exploded causing severe injuries to Sally and Sean, employees ofQQ. Amy, another employee in the room where the explosion occurred,attempted to escape through the new staircase but slipped and suffered adislocated ankle due to the slippery surface of the stairs. The independentexpert’s report on the central heating system reveals faults in its installation.Moreover, the system installed by DHS was found to be at the lower end ofenergy efficiency heating systems. An investigation into the explosion hasdisclosed that a gas leak is the likely source of the catastrophe.
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