Edward McMullen Partner

Photograph of Edward McMullen

Contact Details

“A clear, pragmatic communicator.”

The Legal 500 UK 2015
Edward specialises in construction and engineering transactions – advising on risk and procurement issues at the non-contentious, front end of projects.  He was shortlisted as 'Solicitor of the Year – Private Practice' (2015) by The Law Society, the independent profession body for solicitors in England and Wales.

Main areas of practice

Edward leads the transactional construction team in our Southampton office. He has extensive experience in dealing with commercial development funding agreements, different types of building contracts, consultant appointments, warranties and other security instruments encountered in construction documentation.  

Clients

Edward has acted for a broad spectrum of clients from across the industry, including owners (public, private or charitable), developers, contractors, funders and consultants.  He covers many sectors including development & construction; retail & leisure; charities & education; banking & finance; plus central, devolved and local government.  He brings a 'can-do' attitude to aligning the different interest groups involved on a project by respecting their needs and objectives.  

Significant experience

Edward acts for a range of retail and development clients (including Metro Bank, Lidl (UK) GmbH, Dover District Council, Test Valley Borough Council, University of Winchester and Rangeford) and he is seen as the natural choice for construction project work by many of these clients.

He has advised on a number of large infrastructure and construction projects, including the $12bn Las Vegas Sands development in Macau. Currently, much of his work comprises a mixture of commercial, residential or mixed-use development in the UK. Edward advises on procurement/delivery strategy and how to appropriately set risk allocation specific to your project. Examples of his experience include:

Public Sector and Leisure

  • Advising Dover District Council and its consultant team on the two-stage design-and-build procurement of a major new community leisure centre in Kent. He prepared the tender pack, including pre-construction services agreement, and negotiated with the preferred main contractor and proposed design team to deliver the D&B building contract, PCG, performance bond and collateral warranties.
  • Working with the Local Government sector procurement team on a broad refurbishment and new build leisure strategy for Test Valley BC. Edward was deeply involved in preparing the DBOM construction elements of the bid pack and assessing modifications submitted by different bidders.
  • Review and improvement of the fit-out procurement frameworks used by a prestigious sports and leisure club network. Understanding the client / contractor relationships and finding a commercial blend of risk sharing, mitigation and management.
  • Advising local UK government on aspects of pre-let and speculative developments and mixed use regeneration projects at Bath Western Riverside and the Liverpool city centre Paradise Street Project. Taking a wider perspective and can-do attitude to harmonise the many different interest groups and bargaining positions.

Commercial development and infrastructure

  • Advising on flagship city centre regeneration projects for the National Regional Property Group; first transforming Southampton's old Fruit & Veg Market area and now the disused Lower East Street shopping area into much-needed housing. Edward helped broker agreement between institutional funders, the developer client and the construction delivery team – including consultant and sub-contractors. These are excellent examples of introducing the private rental sector model to invigorate certain areas of the city.
  • Advising scheme owners (and new owners) on the development of land in Wiltshire, Yorkshire and Gloucestershire in a series of high-end retirement community developments of 150 – 250 units. Finance and site acquisition, planning and construction needed to dovetail neatly.
  • Major office projects such as the redevelopment of London's Mondial House into the 50,000 sq/m Watermark Place; the redevelopment or construction of UK regional business parks (at Reading, Coventry, Guildford and Sevenoaks) as well as landmark buildings and specialist arts projects (such as the refurbishment of the Almeida Theatre, London and the construction of The Turner Centre, Margate).
  • Assisting in delivery of premium car dealership showrooms in multiple locations for a well-known client. Negotiating the suites of construction contracts to satisfy forward funding investors and landlords.
  • Advising on the construction aspects of Lidl's purchase of a newly built £15m distribution centre at the Gateway development in Peterborough. Working together with our Property team, Edward reviewed and advised Lidl on the suite of construction documents, including an NEC3 Building Contract and the development agreement. We have since been instructed on several similar transactions for this client.
  • Preparing procurement documents and NEC contract completion for the refurbishment works to the Wightlink ferry terminals in Portsmouth and Fishbourne. The complex nature of the engineering solution plus challenging environmental constraints meant appropriate risk assessment and allocation in the contract structure was critical.

Education

  • Advising the University of Winchester on several landmark project procurements to deliver new facilities of outstanding quality and innovative, sustainable design. We demonstrated our expertise at using the Southern Construction Framework and helped the client achieve outcomes that fit the University's enhanced status as an important civic institution in the city.
  • Advising an academy trust on the construction obligations in its lease with the local authority, and working with all parties to see that the FRI obligation could be safely passed by the council to the education institution without undue risk being taken by the charitable institution.
  • Advising on purpose-built student accommodation developments near Bath and Oxford. Framework agreements and group-company involvement required careful alignment for potential investors.

Banking and finance

  • Fast-track expansion of the new Metro Bank branch network, with complex projects sited all across the south of England and beyond. Edward often helps procure structural alterations to existing commercial buildings whilst maintaining good relations with the landlords and neighbouring tenants. Friendly efficiency is the hallmark of our client's drive in this rapid roll-out of store openings.
  • Advising a half dozen leading UK banks and lending institutions concerning multiple property development loans, site purchases and sales. Rapid, cost-effective due diligence analysis of construction documents and helping borrowers to satisfy funding conditions to drawdown.

Contentious Experience

  • Advising on several construction final account disagreements and latent defect complaints; drafting appropriate settlement agreements.
  • Advising the Hong Kong Government in an arbitration concerning piling problems and extensive delay at a school redevelopment in the New Territories, Hong Kong.
  • Advising Las Vegas Sands on major construction arbitration in relation to cladding work delay and disruption. Heavily involved as the parties exchanged pleadings, undertook discovery and processed witness statements. We advised the respondent how best to issue a Calderbank letter and successfully concluded a settlement agreement shortly afterwards.
  • Advising Las Vegas Sands on major construction arbitration in relation to disputed reinforcement steel order. Preparation of witness statements and the statement of defence. Issues included impossibility of fulfilling order and consequential loss under the governing law of the contract.
  • Advising Las Vegas Sands on construction arbitration in relation to non-delivery of landscaping materials and disagreement over valuation of plants. Handling case correspondence, preparing draft directions and leading the discovery process.
  • Advising UK property developer in connection with air-conditioning defects, subsidence issues and cladding failures at a commercial business park in Coventry. Drafting the dispute notice and successfully concluded a settlement agreement shortly thereafter.
  • Assisting as a junior lawyer throughout a £34m adjudication arising out of the delayed construction of a PFI-procured detention centre.

Publications

Edward's paper won the 2008 Society of Construction Law Hong Kong Prize, with:  'Love My Tender?' The risk of Non-Reciprocation Remains, But Do Submitted Tenders Need To Be Considered Fairly?' 

Additional expertise

Edward is also qualified as a Hong Kong solicitor (non-practising) and spent 4.5 years working on major construction projects in that region.  He has a master's degree from King's College, London in Construction Law & Arbitration.

“Edward won the 2015 'Solicitor Of The Year' award.”

Hampshire Law Society 2015

Expertise

Edward’s Blog

The Housing Gap - An Intimidating Problem?

The gap between housing supply and demand is a perennial issue for Councils. We take a closer look at the issues involved.

The use of Escrow accounts as building works enablers

The redevelopment of one part of a building poses obvious construction risk to the remaining parts. For example, basement excavations in expensive London enclaves or fancy penthouse conversions to the top of a block.

Articles by Edward

The dangers of delaying agreement

News

Sometimes the need to get a project up and running takes top priority, even before the parties have settled all their terms of agreement.

CDM 2015 – What claims might be made?

Article

The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 ("CDM 2015") came into force on 6 April 2015, replacing CDM 2007. CDM 2015 applies to nearly every construction, engineering or development project, including small and domestic projects.

CDM 2015 – Update for the public sector

News

The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 ("CDM 2015") came into force on 6 April 2015, replacing CDM 2007. CDM 2015 applies to nearly every construction, engineering or development project, including small and domestic projects.

Related Knowledge & Resources

Developers are warned by the Court of Appeal not to take the law into their own hands

Local authorities will be pleased to note that the Court of Appeal accepts that they only have to consider planning issues when presented with a planning application.

EU Nationals in the UK: The Government's post-Brexit offer... What next?

On 26 June 2017, the Government published its proposals outlining how it intends to protect the rights of EU Nationals living in the UK.

Another contaminated land liability stream for developers to contend with

Developers are geared up to carry out necessary remediation of brownfield sites through the planning process, but what happens if there is historical contamination on land that they have sold to homeowners years before?

Recovering outstanding berthing fees – a guide for marinas and boatyards

Blake Morgan provides a helpful guide for Marinas and Boat Yards on recovering outstanding berthing fees.

A guide for overseas retailers on UK retail leases

The purpose of this guide is to give a broad outline of the structure of retail leases in the UK, including brief details of the provisions which are usually contained in a retail lease and the reasons for those provisions.