Construction & Engineering

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Our construction and engineering lawyers use their legal expertise and in-depth knowledge of the construction industry to help make your construction project a success and resolve any disputes that arise.

Our expert team specialise in all types of construction law matters. No matter the size of your project, sound practical and pragmatic advice is essential. Throughout your project, you’ll benefit from experienced specialist construction lawyers working seamlessly with the rest of your professional team. We’ll help you identify and manage risks to help you deliver your projects on time, on budget and to specification.

Specialist project support will deal with legal issues as they arise and get your project back on track. Should problems occur, you’ll be keen to resolve them quickly and with minimal disruption to your business. Our construction dispute resolution lawyers are expert negotiators and can deal with any formal dispute resolution procedures pro-actively and cost-effectively.

We advise businesses and individuals on specialist construction contracts and ancillary project documentation, with support that is tailored to each project.

Our specialist construction law experience includes:

  • Dispute resolution – the vast majority of construction disputes can be resolved at an early stage without recourse to formal legal processes. But only if they’re tackled before they have escalated or had a knock-on effect
  • Adjudication
  • Project documentation – tailored construction contracts to provide a solid foundation to your project
  • Project support – contractual obligations are often ignored, misunderstood or misapplied. Having the support of a construction lawyer with in-depth knowledge of the practical aspects of a construction project will help things get back on track
  • International project support
  • Access to lawyers across our commercial group with knowledge of the construction industry to support your wider business needs.

A different approach to construction law

Do your lawyers think like construction professionals? We do. That’s why we are one of the region’s top construction law teams. Our in-depth understanding of the realities of a project is as important as our knowledge of the law. Working with true specialist lawyers gives you confidence. We understand the day to day opportunities and challenges of the industry.

We work as part of your project team so you can be sure we’re speaking your language and know how to achieve your objectives. Benefit from proactive assistance, with the team always at the end of the phone to talk through concerns and help you to take advantage of opportunities and avoid the risks inherent in construction projects.

Legal advice is only valuable when it has a positive financial impact so we fully explain the options for taking the matter forward cost effectively, to help you keep cost control of your project. Wherever possible, you’ll receive a fixed cost at each stage, giving you financial clarity.

We know how important your project is and we take a genuine interest in seeing your project through from start to finish. We get as much satisfaction as you do when it is delivered on time and within budget.

Full legal support to your construction business

We also want to work with you to help your construction company succeed as a business. Our Construction sector team pulls together lawyers from across our commercial group who can help you with your wider business needs, whether they be issues relating to property development, real estate, planning, real estate disputes, corporate transactions and employment/HR issues. The lawyers in our team understand the construction industry and opportunities and challenges facing those in the sector.

Outstanding level of knowledge of the construction sector and fantastic customer service, aligned with considered and cost-effective advice.

Project documentation

Our highly experienced construction lawyers use their considerable knowledge of the construction sector to prepare construction contracts and ancillary project documentation that is tailored to your needs, and deals with their realities of what happens on site. We provide clear advice, based upon our knowledge of the construction industry and the real-world issues that arise.

Documentation to provide a solid foundation to your project

Everyone involved in a construction project, large or small, needs properly prepared, commercially sound project documentation.

  • For those inside the industry, we know how to identify and adapt to the day-to-day opportunities and challenges you face, to safeguard your bottom line
  • For businesses outside the construction industry, our experienced lawyers use their in-depth knowledge of the industry to guide you through the process, identifying potential options and risks, helping you maintain control of the costs.

Benefits of sound project documentation

The earlier you consult us the better. Having good project documentation in place from the beginning does much more than “tick a box”.

It can:

  • Ensure the whole professional team is on board and their roles clear from the outset
  • Put all contractors on the same footing during the tendering process to ensure that truly competitive pricing is obtained
  • Work as a tool for driving the project forward and managing change processes
  • Identify possible opportunities and predict potential issues
  • Embed proper contract administration from the start
  • Prevent or manage delays and losses
  • Protect you from disputes or result in early resolution.

Tailored construction contracts and other documentation

Every project has its quirks. The legal documentation needs to be tailored to fit your project otherwise it is of little practical use and may not provide the most cost-effective solution.

We structure documentation around the operational requirements and commercial imperatives of the project, so that it deals with the issues particular to your situation, and aligns with your way of working. We take account of the wider short and longer term commercial goals of your business – what you want to achieve further down the line is often a key factor in how the construction contracts and other documentation is structured.

Chris Whittington is a straight-talking legal representative who guides clients through a range of construction issues.

Our project documentation services

  • Advising on the most effective project structure
  • Reviewing proposed documentation and construction contract structures
  • Advising on, drafting, vetting and negotiating
  • Building and engineering contracts (including any required amendments to standard forms such as the JCT and NEC suites)
  • Professional appointments and consultants appointments (including any required amendments to standard forms such as RIBA and ACE) and deeds of innovation
  • Negotiating and drafting collateral warranties in favour of developers, funders, purchasers, tenants etc.
  • Ancillary / security documents such as performance bonds, parent company guarantees, retention bonds etc.
  • Specialist drafting of bespoke construction and engineering contracts for complex projects
  • Advising clients initiating or funding projects on the most appropriate forms of building or engineering contracts and professional appointments, whether using industry standard or bespoke forms.

Client success stories

  • Advising professional services businesses (accountants, law firms) in relation to the most appropriate procurement route and ancillary documentation for the construction of bespoke new offices to meet the operational needs of the business and maximise assets from the development
  • Advising banks and funders to review and implement appropriate project documentation to protect their interests and ensure appropriate step-in rights should the need arise
  • Advising in relation to multi million pound high end residential refurbishment and alteration projects
  • Advising in relation to numerous school building and student accommodation projects
  • Advising in relation to the fit out of major chill store warehousing facilities ensuring appropriate terms were in place to deal with the highly specialist nature of the works
  • Advising in relation to the full suite of construction documents for a major London hotel refurbishment project funded by overseas investment
  • Acting for a major industrial company constructing a multi-million pound facility for the bulk assessment of used electrical materials (e.g. spent batteries, electronic equipment etc.) as to the value of precious materials contained within prior to shipment of material found suitable for extraction to another plant. Drafting the numerous required construction and engineering contracts and associated professional appointments
  • Acting for a developer converting an important listed building into a mixed use development. Drafting, negotiation and finalisation of a comprehensive suite of contracts and professional appointments, including the provision of performance guarantees from the contractor and collateral warranties from specialist sub-contractors
  • Acting for a company producing pre-prepared frozen food on the construction of a large kitchen extension to their factory, involving the preparation of comprehensive construction documentation required within a tight timetable, including comprehensive schedule of amendments to a standard JCT building contract, various professional consultancy appointments, performance bond, and collateral warranties from consultants and specialist sub-contractors
  • Acting for a property maintenance company in reviewing and amending a valuable facilities maintenance contract regarding a new iconic immersive media building in central London within a very tight timetable, ensuring that the terms were realistically achievable and sanctions not unduly onerous
  • Acting for a care home provider in urgently appointing a replacement building contractor to complete the works on a project, involving the drafting and negotiation of a suitable JCT contract with amendments and associated documents, to ensure that the project was brought back on track minimising any cost overruns.

Project support

Proactive legal support keeps your construction project running smoothly. Having a specialist construction lawyer on hand to help you identify and take advantage of potential opportunities and support you in facing the challenges is invaluable.

Legal support that keeps your construction project on track

All construction projects will encounter the need for changes to be made as the works progress. Having the right project documentation in place is as important as making sure it is operated correctly and on time. However, contractual obligations are often ignored, misunderstood or misapplied. Having the support of a construction lawyer with in-depth knowledge of the practical aspects of a construction project will help things get back on track by:

  • Advising on what notices under the contracts should be served and when, and the consequences or opportunities arising where a notice has not been properly served
  • Explaining the pros and cons of taking formal steps to address performance issues
  • Keeping the project moving in the right direction
  • Preventing construction disputes escalating and costing time and money.

We will advise you of your position, your options, the cost implications and the most realistic course of action. We work collaboratively with other professionals involved in the project and frequently head off construction disputes before they happen.

There are two ways in which clients use our project support services:

For ongoing project support: working with us means you have a construction lawyer on your team whenever you need one. Someone who understands the construction industry, is familiar with your project and objectives, and who you can consult at any time on any concerns.

For support on issues arising during the project: whether we worked on your construction contract documentation or an issue has arisen since the contracts were put in place, we’ll advise you on how the contractual terms can be used to safeguard your position and minimise the risk of a problem escalating into a dispute.

Our project support services

  • Post contract completion procedures: once the construction contract is in place, helping you set up processes on site to ensure the team involved in the construction phase is familiar with what the contract requires of them and how it applies in practical terms
  • Advising you how best to deal with any issues that arise on construction contracts, sub-contracts and appointments during construction
  • Advising and negotiating in potential suspension of works or termination of contract situations, including negotiating amended contract terms
  • Advising on interim payment disputes including potential disputes concerning the validity of Payment and/or Pay Less Notices
  • Contractual “re-set” or early termination negotiations and arising settlement agreements / deeds of variation
  • Commercial negotiations and settlement of any issues
  • Liaising with experts to resolve technical issues affecting the project.

Client success stories

  • Negotiating with the suppliers of an insolvent company to secure the immediate direct delivery of later instalments of bespoke radial cut stone for a prestigious London development
  • Negotiating with a local authority to secure access to a contractor whose services had been improperly suspended and obtaining their agreement to additional works to enable the project to proceed
  • Advising on notices of intention to suspend works to secure overdue interim payments
  • Advising in relation to preliminary termination notices to break the deadlock and enable completion of the project.

We have been working with Caroline on a recent JCT build contract and can honestly say that I find her personable and pragmatic approach really refreshing. As you would expect, she has excellent knowledge within her field and has always acted swiftly when needed and is not scared to pick up the phone to get things done.

Construction dispute resolution

Our highly experienced construction lawyers use their considerable knowledge of the construction sector and modern dispute resolution methods to resolve construction disputes cost effectively and at an early stage.

We deal with all stages of construction disputes from initial advisory work and input in ongoing commercial negotiations on live projects through to complex adjudications and multi-party claims in the High Court’s Technology & Construction Court (TCC).

We have considerable experience in devising and implementing effective strategies to resolve disputes at an early stage, and regularly resolve complex disputes by way of negotiation or mediation.

As well as being an experienced negotiators, our specialists represent parties in adjudications and claims in the TCC, where they have particular experience in dealing with claims involving insolvency issues, complex professional negligence claims arising from design failings, and claims against insurers.

Where formal legal processes are required, we minimise the disruption, ensure their cost-effectiveness and get you the best commercial result.

The vast majority of construction disputes can be resolved at an early stage without recourse to formal legal processes. But only if they’re tackled before they have escalated or had a knock-on effect on other aspects of the project. A call to one of our construction lawyers early on can avoid relationships deteriorating and costs escalating, resulting in enormous damage to the project.

We identify the most appropriate way of tackling the construction dispute. Our aim is to contain its scope and minimise its impact on the project and your business. We adopt an entirely bespoke approach, recognising that the dynamics of each project and those involved can vary.

Where appropriate, we work closely with our network of leading experts on liability / technical issues, delay analysts, quantum experts and leading construction barristers in order to put together a formidable team to suit your dispute.

Our construction dispute resolution services include

  • Acting on disputes concerning defective works, design issues, disputed valuations / final account, interim payment disputes, non-payment, extensions of time, loss and expense, termination and insolvency issues
  • Settlement of the vast majority of matters at an early stage through negotiations, settlement meetings, mediation, and expert determination (Alternative Dispute Resolution)
  • Settlements involving substantial re-negotiation of live construction contracts and/or in bringing projects to a point where there can be an orderly handover to a replacement contractor
  • Adjudication – bringing or defending “slam dunk” interim payment disputes, final account disputes, substantive disputes, serial adjudications, and adjudication enforcement proceedings in the TCC
  • Claims in the Technology & Construction Court, with considerable experience in multi-party construction disputes involving insolvency issues, complex professional negligence claims arising from design failings, and claims against insurers
  • Construction arbitrations.


We act regularly for clients in adjudications. In the right circumstances, adjudication can give you a very rapid and cost effective way of having the dispute decided in your favour. We also act in relation to adjudication enforcement proceedings in the High Court.

We provide two types of construction adjudication service depending on the level of legal input you need:

  • Full service: where we prepare the papers and see the construction adjudication process through from start to finish
  • “Adjudication lite”: where we work with your in-house team, check the papers prepared by them, give our objective view from the adjudicator’s perspective and deal with any legal and procedural issues arising.

Client success stories

  • Dealing with a complex dispute involving numerous projects undertaken between developer and contractor over many years through various entities. Following a successful high value adjudication which accounted for the vast majority of the quantum difference between the parties, obtaining within the enforcement proceedings a freezing injunction following discovery of dissipation of the contractor’s high value property assets to related companies, preventing onward dissipation pending settlement of the judgment sum, as a foundation for mediation to take place
  • Defending serial adjudications brought in relation to a subcontractor dispute and obtaining decisions successfully preventing attempts by the subcontractor to re-value works on a re-measurement basis, resisting “slam dunk” adjudications, and determining major points of principle in our client’s favour, as a basis for reaching a favourable overall final account resolution
  • Successfully defended a high value “smash and grab” adjudication on an interim application, following alleged deficiencies in certification processes, leading to substantial tactical advantage in subsequent negotiations and narrowing of live valuation issues
  • Negotiated outcome to a complex multi-party professional negligence case concerning a highly unusual mode of failure of timber structures and apportionment of liability between those with concept and detailed design responsibility
  • Dealing with issues arising from a professional indemnity insurer’s declinature of cover as a result of the pre-insolvency actions of one of the defendants
  • Mediated outcome to a highly technical multi-party dispute concerning the failure of a major piled wall during the construction of a prestigious coastal development to enable successful completion of the project, despite the main contractor’s insolvency.

The team are personable, knowledgeable and excel in collaboration with clients and experts alike.

International project advice

Practical legal advice and support for companies, funders and individuals involved in construction projects with an international element. Ensuring your project is underpinned by robust documentation, that it runs cost-effectively and that disputes are resolved quickly.

Keeping international construction projects running smoothly

Whether you are involved in a refurbishment, rebuild or new build, managing a project from overseas brings its own difficulties, particularly where the legal aspects of the project involve different jurisdictions.

Our international construction lawyers work with companies, funders and individuals based overseas giving sound advice and support, and tailoring our service to the specifics of the project.

Construction law varies widely and building projects can get complex when there are cross-border issues to resolve.

Our services

We provide services from procurement, through implementation to the successful completion of your project:

  • International construction contracts and other project documentation tailored to work in practice for your particular project wherever you and your contractors are based. Protecting you from delay and financial loss and enabling the project to be delivered on time and within budget
  • Project support services that keep a project running smoothly are particularly important when you’re managing it from a distance. Identifying and taking advantage of potential opportunities that English law and that of other jurisdictions offer. Helping you face the challenges, and avoid risks and disputes
  • Construction dispute resolution services: relationships can be difficult to manage when you’re not in regular face-to-face contact with the parties involved. Our construction lawyers often resolve construction disputes early on. Where formal legal processes are required, we minimise the disruption and ensure their cost-effectiveness.

How can we help?

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