The Building Design Partnership (BDP) is reportedly facing a professional negligence lawsuit over ventilation problems at the Westminster Academy building in Westbourne Green in London.
The Education Secretary Michael Gove is said to have joined the Academy in filing the lawsuit against BDP, which was the lead consultant on the £23 million school project.
According to legal papers filed at the High Court, staff and pupils had to be evacuated after temperatures at Westminster Academy reached 30˚C. The stuffy classrooms and excessive temperatures were also said to have affected pupils’ performance in exams and teachers ability to work.
The complaint centres on a ‘unique’ ventilation system within the Academy, which was completed in 2007 and has won as many as 15 design awards since. This system was used because windows had to be sealed to cut out noise from the A40 road nearby. The lawsuit accuses BDP of “negligent breach of duty” in designing the ventilation system, and is seeking more than £3 million in damages.
BDP is likely to have professional indemnity insurance in place due to the nature of its work, which is useful because this case could prove to be very expensive for both sides.