Palais du Midi: Construction companies take STIB to court

Palais du Midi: Construction companies take STIB to court
Construction site at Palais du Midi. Credit: Belga/Nicolas Maeterlinck

The Toots Consortium, made up of four Belgian construction companies, brought forward a lawsuit against STIB last Friday relating to works carried out underneath the Palais du Midi as part of STIB’s North Metro project, L’Écho reports on Thursday. The consortium is contesting penalties imposed by the transport company for work stoppages.

The new metro 3 line, which will link the North to the South of Brussels, is still a long way off. It is predicted that the project will be completed by 2032, at the earliest. The project will link Brussels North station to Brussels Midi. Workers are currently creating tunnels for the planned metro connection.

After encountering difficulties working in the soft marshy soil underneath the Palais du Midi, the contractor was forced to change its building method, at the cost of an additional €170 million. STIB dismissed this additional cost as unreasonable and ordered the resumption of tunnelling work last December.

A month later, no construction work had taken place. STIB decided to impose penalties on the construction consortium, both damages and interest, of €50,000 per day from 9 January. STIB also decided to exclude the companies from all Brussels public transport public contracts for a period of three years if no solution was reached by the end of March.

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These conditions were ultimately considered to be unreasonable by the construction consortium who are now taking STIB to court to contest the damages. The construction companies are also likely using the threat of legal proceedings to buy time for ongoing negotiations with STIB, L’Écho surmises.

Council for the plaintiffs, Sébastien Leroy, confirmed that “the parties are seeking a solution to their dispute, allowing the work to continue.” STIB refused to comment on the lawsuit.

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