Construction and Engineering

Our experienced team of construction solicitors specialise in providing a comprehensive service of contentious, construction phase advisory and transactional construction and engineering advice, with particular focus on real estate and infrastructure projects, development, property and corporate acquisitions and finance.

We have expertise acting for both domestic and international clients (developers, contractors, high net worth individuals, investors, lenders and real estate funds) on a variety of development projects (high-end residential, commercial, mixed use schemes, infrastructure, leisure, student accommodation, health, education, defence and science).

We have an excellent understanding of the real estate and construction industries and a breadth of experience of working with contractors, consultants, developers, investors and financiers.  Combined, this enables us to see the bigger picture and both pre-empt legal and commercial issues that you may face and help you successfully avoid, mitigate and resolve any disputes that may arise.

Our loyalty to providing you with the best possible result helps us gain insight and an in-depth understanding of your business and goals, and how the risk profile and your requirements may change throughout the duration of a project.

Whilst we can get involved at any stage of a development or whenever a dispute arises, in our experience our clients benefit from involving us as early as possible to work alongside them and members of the construction team. Early involvement enables us to get a good understanding of your goals, build a relationship with you and the professional team and draft documentation that is both truly bespoke to your needs and reflects its commercial realities.

We can assist with:

Developers

  • advising on the most suitable procurement options;
     
  • pre-qualification questionnaires and tender interviews;
     
  • drafting and negotiating the appointments of the professional team (bespoke or based on industry standard forms);
     
  • drafting and negotiating the terms of the building contract (based on the industry standard forms – JCT, NEC or bespoke, such as trade contracts or engineering, procurement and construction contracts), as well as letters of intent and pre-construction services agreements;
     
  • preparing construction security documents that you or a third party with an interest in the project (funders, purchasers or tenants) may require, such as bonds (performance, advance, retention), parent company guarantees, collateral warranties, third party rights and escrow agreements;
     
  • Drafting and negotiating asset and infrastructure protection agreements;
     
  • advising on any development obligations that you may have under agreements with third parties with an interest in the project (such as funders or tenants);
     
  • in conjunction with your insurance broker advising on the suitability of the works insurance agreements;
     
  • reporting to you / your funders on the security afforded by the suite of construction documents;
     
  • providing support during and after the construction phase including contentious construction legal advice encompassing dispute avoidance and mitigation advisory work, adjudication, mediation, commercial negotiation and litigation in the Technology and Construction Court

 

contractors

  • advise on the risks allocated to you by the employer under a building contract and carry out legal negotiations on your behalf;
     
  • the drafting and negotiation of the suite of sub-contracts including flowing down obligations and risks contained in main contracts and agreements with third parties with an interest in the project;
     
  • project counsel advice and training to commercial and operational teams during the construction phase to assist with the avoidance, mitigation and resolution of both up and downstream disputes; and
     
  • investigating and advising on the avoidance, mitigation and resolution of delay, disruption, professional negligence, liquidated damages, payment, variation and termination disputes.

 

Consultants

  • negotiating appointment terms and any related third party rights and collateral warranties;
     
  • advising on any development obligations contained in agreements with third parties with an interest in the project (such as funders or tenants) that clients may wish to flow down into appointments; and
     
  • advising on, negotiating the settlement of and defending professional negligence claims.

 

We also work closely with our:

Real Estate team to provide support in the negotiation of documents such as agreements for lease, development management agreements or sale contracts with a development element;

Banking team to support the construction aspects of development finance deals; and

Corporate and Commercial team in providing support in particular in relation to acquisitions of entities that own projects which have either been recently constructed or are currently in the construction phase.

We also have experience in providing dispute avoidance and mitigation advice, and resolving disputes through adjudication, mediation, commercial negotiation and litigation in the Technology and Construction Court for developers, contractors and consultants with support from our very experienced Disputes Resolution team.

"They are very thorough, knowledgeable and good at problem solving."

Chambers UK 2016, A Client's Guide to the Legal Profession

Brandusa is a "very capable lawyer," note insiders. She has a broad non-contentious practice".

Chambers UK 2015, A Client's Guide to the UK Legal Profession

Latest blogs & news

Constructing additional floors on top of existing blocks of flats

The UK is currently facing a housing crisis. Looking at London in particular, the property market has not been able to support the exponential growth of residents in the capital. 

The end of nil-valuations for high-rises?

Last month, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), The Building Societies Association (BSA) and UK Finance agreed a new industry-wide valuation process for buildings more than six storeys high.

What are the key legal issues affecting construction documents for data centre projects?

The value of the UK’s data economy is over £70 billion and this is only set to increase.  Digital Realty’s “The Data Economy Report 2018” estimates that there is a further £50 billion of untapped potential in this part of the UK economy.

A ban on combustible cladding; a Joint Regulators Group; a new health and safety test for architects - The Hackitt Report six months on

In construction, “underpinning” is the process of strengthening the foundation of an existing structure in order to provide stability in cases where the original foundation is not strong enough. In respect of building safety, the Hackitt Report seeks to change the ethos of the industry by strengthening the existing foundations and introducing new ideas to build upon them.

“Improving transparency and integrity of information”- The impact of the Golden Thread on Principal Designers and Principal Contractors

In my previous blog, I concluded my review of how the roles and responsibilities of the key CDM duty holders may be applied to Higher Risk Residential Buildings (“HRRBs”). In this blog, I will explore the Hackitt Report’s recommendation for the introduction of a ‘golden thread’ of quality building information and what that means for Principal Designers and Principal Contractors.

“Clarifying leadership, management and competence” | Applying the CDM Regulations to HRRBs | Part 2

In my previous blog I provided an overview of the history of health and safety legislation, and analysed the Hackitt report’s recommendation that the CDM Regulations should be extended to HRRBs. I concluded by looking at how the proposals may impact clients (as defined by the CDM Regulations). I continue the theme in this blog by reviewing the potential implications on the other CDM duty holders – Designers, Contractors, Principal Designers and Principal Contractors.

“Creating empowered and responsible duty holders” | Applying the CDM Regulations to HRRBs

Our blog series began with a review of Dame Judith Hackitt’s report and our examination of whether an outright ban on combustible materials is required. In this blog we analyse the primary purpose of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations (‘CDM Regulations’), how the CDM Regulations apply to key persons in a construction project and how the Report suggests the construction industry apply the regulations to higher risk residential buildings (HRRBs).

Don’t delay: contracting out of the prevention principle

Delay is a major issue on construction projects.  To combat this, most construction contracts will specify a particular date by which the works must be completed.  If the contractor fails to meet this deadline, it will usually have to pay a pre-agreed level of damages for the period of delay.  This is unless the contractor can show that it has a claim for an extension of time which will push back the date for completion. 

The Hackitt report - what next?

Following the Grenfell Tower tragedy, the Government commissioned a report to make recommendations on the future regulatory system covering high rise and complex buildings.  In her final report (‘Building a Safer Future, Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety: Final Report’), published in May 2018, Dame Hackitt called for major reform and a change of culture, making clear that the current system is not fit for purpose. 

“A principled outcomes-based approached with a clear model of risk ownership”

A substantial rebuild or simply papering over the cracks- What does the Hackitt Report mean for the construction industry? - A blog series

Professional appointments on construction projects: Make sure to include clear termination provisions

The recent judgment of Redbourn Group Ltd v Fairgate Developments Ltd [2018] EWHC 658 highlights the importance, for a developer appointing a consultant to carry out services on a construction project, of ensuring the appointment terms are clear on: (a) circumstances entitling the developer to terminate the Consultant’s employment and (b) any amounts payable by the developer to the consultant on such termination.

Retentions: Carillion should mark the beginning of the end

Today marks the end of the government consultation on the practice of cash retentions under construction contracts.

What if Brexit really means Brexit for construction?

We’ve all heard what Theresa May had to say on 17 January 2016.  The UK Government is preparing the country for a hard Brexit and the decision of the Supreme Court in the Gina Miller case earlier this week is unlikely to be more than a small hiccup in the process.

What Brexit may look like for the UK Construction Industry

With the 23 June referendum fast approaching, we have taken a look at some of the hot topics that may have an influence on the construction industry.

Building contracts: The importance of accurate and clear Interim Applications and Pay Less Notices

The recent decision of Mr Justice Akenhead in Henia and Beck Interiors ([2015] EWHC 2433 (TCC)), provides some helpful guidance regarding the validity of Interim Applications for Payment and Pay Less Notices

Construction and Engineering Insights

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Blogs

The end of nil-valuations for high-rises?

What are the key legal issues affecting construction documents for data centre projects?

A ban on combustible cladding; a Joint Regulators Group; a new health and safety test for architects - The Hackitt Report six months on

“Improving transparency and integrity of information”- The impact of the Golden Thread on Principal Designers and Principal Contractors

Right of Escape: Is it a licence or an easement?

“Clarifying leadership, management and competence” | Applying the CDM Regulations to HRRBs | Part 2

“Creating empowered and responsible duty holders” | Applying the CDM Regulations to HRRBs

Don’t delay: contracting out of the prevention principle

The Hackitt report - what next?

“A principled outcomes-based approached with a clear model of risk ownership”

Professional appointments on construction projects: Make sure to include clear termination provisions

Retentions: Carillion should mark the beginning of the end

Unclear contract terms – sign up to them at your peril

IWD: ‘Come on, give us a smile’ – the girls and construction mix

At a loss about the 2016 changes to the JCT Design and Build Contract?

What if Brexit really means Brexit for construction?

What Brexit may look like for the UK Construction Industry

CDM Regulations 2015 – It’s time to say farewell to CDM Co-ordinators

Building contracts: The importance of accurate and clear Interim Applications and Pay Less Notices

Office fit-outs: Are you aware of the insurance risks?

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