x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

UK architecture firm sues Dubai Properties over fees

Hopkins Architects is taking legal action for more than Dh27 million.

A top British architecture company is suing Dubai Properties Group for more than Dh27 million (US$7.3m) of allegedly unpaid fees and costs over a stalled pair of towers in Dubai's financial centre. Hopkins Architects, an architectural and engineering company, has lodged its claim in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Courts. Disputes between developers and contractors have arisen across the Emirates after the sudden decline of the property market in late 2008 began to affect sales of units in new projects. More disputes have also arisen between developers and buyers.

Central Park 08 was to be twin buildings, of about 50 storeys each, close to the Gate building in the DIFC. Hopkins was hired in May 2005 by Dubai Properties with a contract worth Dh50.8m.Hopkins also designed the Gate Village next to the DIFC, a set of buildings that includes offices and the Capital Club. Hopkins alleges it is owed Dh27m, including overtime, loss of profit, costs incurred from changes to plans and other expenses.

The claim also includes Dh30,710 worth of aeroplane tickets for a marketing trip to the Far East, court documents show. Dubai Properties declined to comment. Hopkins notified Dubai Properties that it was in default of the Dh3.9m it owed Hopkins last January, court documents show. The company claims that after no payment was made, Hopkins suspended activity at the site. "Hopkins then vacated its site office, removing all of its documents and possessions," it said.

On April 7 last year Dubai Properties wrote to Hopkins saying it wanted to cancel the contract because of the architect's failure to resume services. bhope@thenational.ae