Corby councillors have agreed to spend a further £600,000 on the Cube to prevent its leaking roof causing damage this winter.
The move was approved at a meeting of the One Corby Policy Committee on Tuesday (September 3).
Leader of the Conservative group on the council, Cllr David Sims, and Cllr Rob McKellar voted against the spending, which brings the total bill for the building to £48.2m. The estimated cost was £36m.
They accused the council of not being tough enough on the Cube design team, Hawkins Brown, and the contractors Galliford Try over the additional costs.
The council is locked in negotiations with the companies and both deny responsibility for the leaking roof and other problems.
Council leader Tom Beattie said: “We are dealing with people who won’t accept their responsibilities but sabre-rattling won’t help.”
The council’s chief executive Norman Stronach described the negotiations with the companies as being, at times, like a war zone.
He said: “We are at an impasse with the builders and the architects. The two parties have withdrawn to their separate corners and we are in the middle. We have a roof that leaks and the building needs to be made watertight. During the winter the problem will get worse and we need to take action.”
The fourth floor roof of the Cube needs substantial repairs and, although there has been little interest from anyone in using it as a restaurant, there is a potential business user.
The area has not been fitted out and its flat roof leaks on to the council chamber, the councillors’ room and offices below.
Cllr Sims said: “We need to be tougher with the design team and the contractors. I believe the Cube will be a drain on the public purse for years to come. We need to take legal action against these people.”
Cllr McKellar added: “There comes a point where a line needs to be drawn and we have to say enough is enough. The people who created this construction nightmare must be held responsible.”
Leader of the Liberal Democrats on the council, Cllr Chris Stanbra, voted in favour of the additional spending. He said: “This is money we shouldn’t be spending but money we will have to spend. It’s outrageous. The architects and builders have washed their hands of their responsibility.”