Bonn Court rules HBG to bear partial responsibility for damage to Schürmann
Rijswijk, the Netherlands – The Court at Bonn has ruled that HBG bears partial responsibility for the damage which occurred to the Schürmann Complex when the River Rhine overflowed its banks in December 1993.
This complex was originally intended as the parliament building. HBG was sued for damages by the German Ministry of Buildings in September 1997. HBG expects to take the case to appeal in a few weeks’ time – when the company has received the written court ruling and had the opportunity to study its detail – since, in HBG’s opinion, the ruling does not take sufficient account of the client’s responsibilities.
The court has not yet awarded damages. This will not be considered until the appeal procedures have been concluded, which will take a considerable period of time. In the event that HBG is ultimately obliged to pay compensation, the company will be claiming on its insurance.
HBW Beton- und Wasserbau GmbH – a subsidiary of HBG – was contracted by the German government as part of several joint ventures to build the complete basement complex for the Schürmann Building. This contract was worth DEM 128 million. This substructure was built under two separate subcontracts, one completed at the end of 1992 and the other in the course of 1993. HBG has consistently taken the view that responsibility for the further management of these two parts of the complex lay with the client as from the time of handover.
The German court of the first instance takes the view that the damage was caused by the absence of a concrete flood barrier over a distance of thirty metres. The court has also ruled that HBG did not succeed in proving that the client was aware of the missing flood barrier.
Arno C. Pronk, HBG Public Relations, telephone +31 70 3722121.