Mareel: Shetland Arts and construction firm DITT set for court battle

The Lerwick building firm which was the main contractor for £12 million cinema and music venue Mareel has lodged a six-figure legal claim against Shetland Arts.

It is thought that DITT resorted to taking court action after the arts body decided to make deductions against the contractor, understood to be in the region of £200,000. DITT believed that to have been unjustified and on Friday lodged a civil action with the Court of Session in Edinburgh.

There has been wrangling between the two parties for some considerable time during the building’s troubled and protracted construction phase.

Construction work began in May 2009 and Mareel had originally been due to open in the winter of 2010 or early 2011. But a string of setbacks – including subcontractors going out of business and weather-related difficulties – meant Mareel’s doors remained steadfastly shut until 10 days ago.

DITT director Peter Tait would only confirm that a case had been lodged at the Court of Session, and that he understood Shetland Arts had until the end of this week to submit its initial defence.

A Shetland Arts spokeswoman said the organisation would not be making any comment at this stage.

The two organisations traded public jibes in February after a planned opening of 24th May had to be pushed back.

At that time, Shetland Arts expressed its “disappointment” at DITT following a three-week delay in handing over the building. In response, DITT blamed architects Gareth Hoskins for requesting “significant changes” to the work it was expected to carry out.

It is also understood that further legal and contractual issues have yet to be hammered out, raising the possibility of months of legal to-ing and fro-ing before the matter is finally settled.

Mareel finally opened to the public for the first time on 25th August, while the first public film screenings took place on Friday. The building is currently hosting the Screenplay and Wordplay festivals ahead of a full official opening season running from October until December.



Add Your Comment
  • Tommy Robertson

    • September 4th, 2012 22:10

    Whatever your views on the venue itself, I do not believe anyone can fail to note the impeccable level of restraint and professionalism displayed by Shetland Arts staff, despite several very public and personal attacks made by spiteful and ignorant people.

    Hopefully now, it is time for Shetland Arts to stand up for itself, as anyone with even minimal building/contracting knowledge knows what a farce it is to deliver a building so late that two of them could have been built in the time.

    £200k of Design alterations does not take that long to implement, especially as dialogue should have been ongoing, not to mention that such an amount is easily dwarfed by the income Shetland Arts, and of course Shetland in general, should have been enjoying almost two years now.


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