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Deciding who pays for Primark blaze damage could become 'legal minefield'

Aerial view of the damage to Primark building following fire [Photos] Close

Aerial views showing the aftermath of the fire in the Bank Buildings - Primark Belfast - August 29th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott)

Aerial views showing the aftermath of the fire in the Bank Buildings - Primark Belfast - August 29th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott)

Kevin Scott

Aerial views showing the aftermath of the fire in the Bank Buildings - Primark Belfast - August 29th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott)

Aerial views showing the aftermath of the fire in the Bank Buildings - Primark Belfast - August 29th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott)

Kevin Scott

Aerial views showing the aftermath of the fire in the Bank Buildings - Primark Belfast - August 29th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott)

Aerial views showing the aftermath of the fire in the Bank Buildings - Primark Belfast - August 29th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott)

Kevin Scott

Aerial views showing the aftermath of the fire in the Bank Buildings - Primark Belfast - August 29th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott)

Aerial views showing the aftermath of the fire in the Bank Buildings - Primark Belfast - August 29th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott)

Kevin Scott

Aerial views showing the aftermath of the fire in the Bank Buildings - Primark Belfast - August 29th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott)

Aerial views showing the aftermath of the fire in the Bank Buildings - Primark Belfast - August 29th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott)

Kevin Scott

Aerial views showing the aftermath of the fire in the Bank Buildings - Primark Belfast - August 29th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott)

Aerial views showing the aftermath of the fire in the Bank Buildings - Primark Belfast - August 29th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott)

Kevin Scott

Aerial views showing the aftermath of the fire in the Bank Buildings - Primark Belfast - August 29th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott)

Aerial views showing the aftermath of the fire in the Bank Buildings - Primark Belfast - August 29th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott)

Kevin Scott

Aerial views showing the aftermath of the fire in the Bank Buildings - Primark Belfast - August 29th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott)

Aerial views showing the aftermath of the fire in the Bank Buildings - Primark Belfast - August 29th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott)

Kevin Scott

Aerial views showing the aftermath of the fire in the Bank Buildings - Primark Belfast - August 29th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott)

Aerial views showing the aftermath of the fire in the Bank Buildings - Primark Belfast - August 29th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott)

Kevin Scott

Aerial views showing the aftermath of the fire in the Bank Buildings - Primark Belfast - August 29th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott)

Aerial views showing the aftermath of the fire in the Bank Buildings - Primark Belfast - August 29th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott)

Kevin Scott

Aerial view over Bank Buildings following Tuesdays fire. Photo by Gregory Weeks.

Aerial view over Bank Buildings following Tuesdays fire. Photo by Gregory Weeks.

Photo by Gregory Weeks.
Aerial view over Bank Buildings following Tuesdays fire..

Photo by Gregory Weeks. Aerial view over Bank Buildings following Tuesdays fire..

Photo by Gregory Weeks.
Aerial view over Bank Buildings following Tuesdays fire..

Photo by Gregory Weeks. Aerial view over Bank Buildings following Tuesdays fire..

Aerial view over Bank Buildings following Tuesdays fire. Photo by Gregory Weeks.

Aerial view over Bank Buildings following Tuesdays fire. Photo by Gregory Weeks.

Photo by Gregory Weeks.
Aerial view over Bank Buildings following Tuesdays fire..

Photo by Gregory Weeks. Aerial view over Bank Buildings following Tuesdays fire..

Photo by Gregory Weeks.
Aerial view over Bank Buildings following Tuesdays fire..

Photo by Gregory Weeks. Aerial view over Bank Buildings following Tuesdays fire..

Photo by Gregory Weeks.
Aerial view over Bank Buildings following Tuesdays fire..

Photo by Gregory Weeks. Aerial view over Bank Buildings following Tuesdays fire..

Photo by Gregory Weeks.
Aerial view over Bank Buildings following Tuesdays fire..

Photo by Gregory Weeks. Aerial view over Bank Buildings following Tuesdays fire..

/

Aerial views showing the aftermath of the fire in the Bank Buildings - Primark Belfast - August 29th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott)

Establishing whether anyone can be held liable for the fire that tore through Primark's flagship Belfast store could be an arduous and long process, it has been claimed.

A £30m extension of the Castle Lane store was being carried out by Co Meath company Bennett Construction before work came to a stop on Tuesday, nearly two years into the project.

The firm did not respond to requests for a statement. It has had a long-running relationship with Primark - which operates as Penneys in the Republic - including carrying out work on the company's Dublin store.

At this stage it is too early to determine what caused the fire and any responsibility.

A construction industry insider said finding out if any party can be held responsible "will be an absolute legal minefield".

He added: "Any CCTV would have been destroyed in the fire, unless something is held off-site."

Solicitor Ciaran McNamara, a senior associate in the construction practice of law firm Pinsent Masons, said that where an extension is being carried out on a building, insurance obligations were likely to still rest with the owners of the building.

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"In a new build development, the contractor would normally provide the insurance, but in a pre-existing structure, to avoid competing insurance interests, the owners of the existing structure would usually take on the insurance obligations," he said.

However, a contractor carrying out work on a site would have to be compliant with health and safety and fire risk statutory obligations. "Any failures to comply with these can carry serious consequences, including criminal penalties," he added.

Chris Wallace, a solicitor at Worthingtons, said a contract held with a company carrying out the construction in a case such as this would be closely studied.

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Firefighters deal with a major blaze at Primark in Belfast on August 28th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Firefighters deal with a major blaze at Primark in Belfast on August 28th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Firefighters deal with a major blaze at Primark in Belfast on August 28th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Firefighters deal with a major blaze at Primark in Belfast on August 28th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Firefighters deal with a major blaze at Primark in Belfast on August 28th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Firefighters deal with a major blaze at Primark in Belfast on August 28th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Compsite showing the fire from 11:06 am to 4:35 pm


Firefighters deal with a major blaze at Primark in Belfast on August 28th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Compsite showing the fire from 11:06 am to 4:35 pm Firefighters deal with a major blaze at Primark in Belfast on August 28th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Firefighters deal with a major blaze at Primark in Belfast on August 28th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Firefighters deal with a major blaze at Primark in Belfast on August 28th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Firefighters deal with a major blaze at Primark in Belfast on August 28th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Firefighters deal with a major blaze at Primark in Belfast on August 28th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Firefighters deal with a major blaze at Primark in Belfast on August 28th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Firefighters deal with a major blaze at Primark in Belfast on August 28th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Firefighters deal with a major blaze at Primark in Belfast on August 28th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Firefighters deal with a major blaze at Primark in Belfast on August 28th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Firefighters deal with a major blaze at Primark in Belfast on August 28th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Firefighters deal with a major blaze at Primark in Belfast on August 28th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Firefighters deal with a major blaze at Primark in Belfast on August 28th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Firefighters deal with a major blaze at Primark in Belfast on August 28th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Firefighters deal with a major blaze at Primark in Belfast on August 28th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Firefighters deal with a major blaze at Primark in Belfast on August 28th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Firefighters deal with a major blaze at Primark in Belfast on August 28th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Firefighters deal with a major blaze at Primark in Belfast on August 28th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Firefighters deal with a major blaze at Primark in Belfast on August 28th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Firefighters deal with a major blaze at Primark in Belfast on August 28th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Firefighters deal with a major blaze at Primark in Belfast on August 28th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Firefighters deal with a major blaze at Primark in Belfast on August 28th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Firefighters deal with a major blaze at Primark in Belfast on August 28th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Firefighters deal with a major blaze at Primark in Belfast on August 28th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Firefighters deal with a major blaze at Primark in Belfast on August 28th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Firefighters deal with a major blaze at Primark in Belfast on August 28th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Firefighters deal with a major blaze at Primark in Belfast on August 28th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Firefighters deal with a major blaze at Primark in Belfast on August 28th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Firefighters deal with a major blaze at Primark in Belfast on August 28th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Firefighters deal with a major blaze at Primark in Belfast on August 28th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Firefighters deal with a major blaze at Primark in Belfast on August 28th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Firefighters deal with a major blaze at Primark in Belfast on August 28th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Firefighters deal with a major blaze at Primark in Belfast on August 28th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Firefighters deal with a major blaze at Primark in Belfast on August 28th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Firefighters deal with a major blaze at Primark in Belfast on August 28th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Firefighters deal with a major blaze at Primark in Belfast on August 28th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Firefighters deal with a major blaze at Primark in Belfast on August 28th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Firefighters deal with a major blaze at Primark in Belfast on August 28th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Firefighters deal with a major blaze at Primark in Belfast on August 28th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Firefighters deal with a major blaze at Primark in Belfast on August 28th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Firefighters deal with a major blaze at Primark in Belfast on August 28th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Firefighters deal with a major blaze at Primark in Belfast on August 28th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

The Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service are attending an incident in Belfast city centre.

The Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service are attending an incident in Belfast city centre.

The Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service are attending an incident in Belfast city centre.

The Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service are attending an incident in Belfast city centre.

Firefighters deal with a major blaze at Primark in Belfast on August 28th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Firefighters deal with a major blaze at Primark in Belfast on August 28th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Firefighters deal with a major blaze at Primark in Belfast on August 28th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Firefighters deal with a major blaze at Primark in Belfast on August 28th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Firefighters deal with a major blaze at Primark in Belfast on August 28th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Firefighters deal with a major blaze at Primark in Belfast on August 28th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Firefighters deal with a major blaze at Primark in Belfast on August 28th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Firefighters deal with a major blaze at Primark in Belfast on August 28th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

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Firefighters deal with a major blaze at Primark in Belfast on August 28th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

"If fault or responsibility is attributed to any third party contractor, the landlord/tenant/owner will undoubtedly try to recover any loss from them," he said.

"Generally, once the cause of the fire has been identified then that should determine whether it is the tenant, landlord or contractor - whichever is applicable - whose insurance policy ought to respond to the events."


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