DAA legal action over Cork Airport terminal roof leaks

The Dublin Airport Authority is taking legal action against two firms who were involved in the construction of Cork Airport’s terminal building.

The DAA has filed papers in the High Court against BAM Contractors and Jacobs Engineering, both of whom were contracted to work on the terminal, which opened to passengers in 2006.

It is understood that the legal action has been triggered now before a 10-year warranty on the building expires at the end of the year.

The terminal, estimated to have cost in the region of €120m, was part of a major redevelopment project at Cork Airport, including a 600-space multi-storey car park, internal roads, and other infrastructure, the entire value of which was estimated to have cost some €180m.

The legal action, which relates to an alleged breach of contract, is understood to be focused only on structural issues with the terminal’s roof.

Leaks are among several problems which have affected the roof over the years. Serious concerns emerged after storms in January 2014 damaged the roof and tore cladding from the building, forcing authorities to close the building and nearby public areas in the interests of public safety. This storm damage has since been repaired.

It is understood the legal action is linked to structural issues which pre-date this damage, and that there are also issues with toilet facilities inside the building, and public lighting systems outside the terminal.

The DAA, BAM, and Jacobs have all declined to comment given that legal proceedings have been initiated.

The terminal building was designed to immediately increase the airport’s annual passenger capacity from 1.1m to 3m, with potential for further expansion to increase capacity to 5m.

However, passenger numbers at Cork have declined over the years from a peak of 3.2m in 2008 to just over 2m last year.

The €113m debt associated with the construction of the terminal has been cited as one of the main barriers to passenger growth at Cork Airport, which is still controlled by the DAA.

Recent figures show Cork is the only State airport with declining traffic figures, with independent and debt-free Shannon and Dublin airports both recording strong growth.

Leading political and business figures have called for a political solution to Cork’s debt problem to allow it compete on a level playing field with the other airports.

BAM Contractors is one of the country’s largest engineering and building firms. It was selected last December as the preferred bidder for Cork’s first multi-purpose events and conference centre.

Together with joint-venture partner Heineken Ireland, it will receive some €20m in public funding towards the construction of the 6,000-seat centre to will be built on South Main St.

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