Construction and engineering

“Blake Morgan is very strong in construction.”

The Legal 500 UK 2015
Our Construction team provides expert advice on procurement strategies, construction disputes, and contract drafting and negotiation for stand-alone and complex property agreements.

Main areas of practice

Non-contentious (transactional)

The team gives specialist advice to a wide range of clients across the whole of the construction sector supply chain. Our highly knowledgeable lawyers advise in relation to all major industry standard forms of documentation (JCT, NEC, FIDIC, GC/Works) in addition to a wide spectrum of bespoke agreements.

Contentious (disputes)

Our Construction team also specialises in the resolution of construction disputes. Our extensive experience means we can find the most efficient and cost-effective means by which to resolve any such dispute, whether by negotiation, litigation, arbitration, adjudication or ADR.

We also understand careful planning and investigation can avoid costly delays and disputes. Our legal team will ensure that you are in the strongest position to take a dispute or project forward by assessing risk and subsequently advising on the best strategy for any particular problem.

Clients

As our work covers a range of commercial, residential and mixed projects in both public and private sectors, it means that the Construction team lawyers have in-depth knowledge of the sector and the best way to manage risk throughout the construction process. Some of the clients we act for on both non-contentious matters and disputes include:

Funders - due diligence on development lending  Housing associations and registered providers  
Professional designers - architects, engineers and consultants  Local authorities and government bodies  
One off 'Employer' clients   Corporates and banks  
Main contractors, sub-contractors and specialist suppliers  Health boards 
Developers and institutional purchasers of construction services  Utilities  
Universities, schools and colleges  Charities 

Significant experience

Non-contentious

Examples of how we have helped clients on construction issues include advising:

  • On a  contract for a 14-acre development to house a new specialist centre for the University of Oxford.
  • The trustees of the Mary Rose on the construction and development of the new museum designed to house the Mary Rose - involved preparing contracts and procurement strategies.
  • Trustees on the proposed redevelopment of a new city centre theatre, in conjunction with the local university. 
  • A corporate developer on a major new regeneration project in Sheffield.
  • A major housebuilder on the redevelopment of a large city centre former hospital into residential units, part of which involves the development of care units in conjunction with another developer.
  • Metro Bank (Britain's first new high street bank in 100 years) on the development of a number of proposed new stores across the UK.
  • A water company in a potential dispute regarding the £29 million refurbishment of a water process plant.
  • Preparing the bespoke appointment of the Client Engineer and EPC invitation to tender and EPC contract for a new 850MW gas fired power station.
  • Drafting a bespoke development agreement and ancillary construction documentation for the design and construction of a new archives building for six local authorities on a guaranteed maximum price basis.
  • Drafting 12 framework agreements and associated contract terms for a Registered Social Landlord's ongoing property maintenance and refurbishment programme.
  • Due diligence on the £12 million acquisition of a development site by a Government body.
  • Drafting a Framework Agreement for Traffic Management services for a utility company in connection with construction works.

Contentious 

Examples of how we have helped clients on construction issues include:

  • Acting for a household name construction company in the defence of a claim in relation to the disposal of excavated material and defective works undertaken by the client pursuant to a JCT 2005 standard building contract without quantities.
  • Acting for a City Council in the defence of a £2,000,000 claim relating to an extension of time and payment of liquidation damages.
  • Acting for a Social Housing developer in the defence of an adjudication relating to the date of Practical Completion. The claim concerned the interpretation of obligations pursuant to a JCT Design and Build Contract (2005).
  • Acting for private individuals in a high value claim against the NHBC for an indemnity under their insurance policy in relation to the defective construction of concrete columns in their marina properties.
  • Successfully defending a multi-party action for nuisance and breach of statutory duty arising from dust caused by the maintenance of a viaduct on a public highway.
  • Advising a contractor on variation claims, extension of time claims and loss and expense claims under a contract with London Overground Rail Operations Limited for overground railway station enhancement works.
  • Acting for the Welsh Government Third Party Claims team in defence of action for breach of statutory duty and nuisance arising from vibration induced damage allegedly caused to a domestic property by the construction of a new bypass. The matter was defended successfully at trial with judgment and costs given in favour of the Welsh Government.
  • Representing a highway contractor in respect of adjudication proceedings issued by a subcontractor in connection with the installation, testing and maintenance of ducting and cabling works to the M6 motorway. Successfully resisting enforcement of the adjudicator’s decision.
  • Acting on behalf of a national crisp manufacturer in respect of the collapse of installed drainage systems to the client’s premises. Multi-party dispute resolved by means of successful mediation.

Other expertise

  • We played an instrumental part in helping the Technology & Construction Court (TCC) to launch its new on-line system of issuing claims. We successfully brought adjudication enforcement proceedings in one of the very first claims to use this new scheme.
  • We acted for Oxfam pro bono to produce a suite of contracts with local organisations for emergency infrastructure works following the earthquake in Haiti.

“A standout practice in the market, with noted strength in the banking and social housing sector. ”

Chambers UK A Client's Guide to the Legal Profession, 2014

“Among the best in the area.”

The Legal 500 UK 2013

Related expertise

Main contacts

Related Knowledge & Resources

BULLETIN: Construction law update - July 2016

News

A brief update on news and developments in construction law.

Rachel Gwilliam will be presenting her prize paper at the Society of Construction Law's joint talk with the Society of Construction Arbitrators.

News

Rachel Gwilliam will be presenting her Hudson Prize, 2nd prize paper on Tuesday 5 July, 2016 at the Society of Construction Law's joint talk with the Society of Construction Arbitrators.

BULLETIN: Construction law update - June 2016

News

A construction law update for June 2016 from Blake Morgan.

Planning seminar with Blake Morgan and Savills

Blake Morgan's 10th annual joint planning seminar with Savills was held on Thursday 20 October 2016, at Blake Morgan's Oxford office.

SDLT 3% surcharge for additional properties: Common questions

Apparently HMRC's stamp duty land tax (SDLT) technical team are receiving over 570 queries a month on the 3% surcharge for additional properties to stamp duty land tax introduced on 1 April 2016.

SDLT 3% for joint purchases of residential properties

Yesterday at the Budget draft legislation was produced finalising the structure of the 3% SDLT surcharge.

Stamp Duty Land Tax 3% surcharge ‘Replacement of only or main residence’ and the three-year rules

The higher rates of SDLT are intended to apply to purchases of additional residential properties, such as second homes and buy to let properties.

New Pre-Action Protocol for Construction and Engineering Disputes launched

As you may be aware, the new Pre-Action Protocol for Construction and Engineering Disputes comes into force on 9 November 2016.

Recovering adjudication costs under the Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998

Rachel Gwilliam, Partner, explores the possibility of recovering adjudication costs under the Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998 (LPCD(I)A 1998).

Igloo Regeneration (General Partner) Limited

We have advised on a public walkway infrastructure forming part of a major regeneration scheme.

Coastal Housing Group

We have been advising Coastal Housing on a £30 million mixed-used regeneration scheme which will provide a new-look retail frontage for Swansea High...