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Who Represents Who

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Blake Morgan LLP’s well-regarded construction practice attracts praise for its β€˜excellent response times and specialist knowledge’. The team advises a range of public and private sector clients on the full scope of issues associated with construction projects. The team has a solid reputation in the retail and leisure, energy, health and local government sectors, and regularly advises London-based clients through its Oxford and Southampton offices. The firm recently acted for Bouygues UK on a logistical reconfiguration of its supply chain following its acquisition of Leadbitter Construction and Denne Construction. Other highlights included advising Victoria Quay Estate on the proposed development of a site on the Isle of Wight, which is set to include onshore residential, leisure and retail space. Richard Wade heads the practice, which includes key figures James Bessey and Catherine Melis.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP’ β€˜first-class’ practice provides β€˜consistently high levels of service’; overall the team is β€˜responsive, pragmatic and willing to work closely with the client to meet their requirements’. The firm undertakes a significant amount of construction and engineering work for high-profile companies and high-net-worth individuals, and is particularly strong in the healthcare, transport, energy and charities sectors. Practice head David Savage is β€˜an extremely knowledgeable lawyer’ who β€˜has a broad range of experience in construction matters, which he is able to bring to bear in a very effective way’; Savage recently advised the Ministry of Transport & Telecommunications in Bahrain on a procurement strategy for the Bahrain Airport Modernisation project, a redevelopment valued at $1bn.

Dentons has β€˜a strong offering in the areas of infrastructure and construction’, providing β€˜in-depth industry knowledge and high-quality advice’ to a wide-ranging client base. The team is notably strong in construction disputes, and also receives a steady stream of non-contentious work from the retail, rail, development finance and high-end residential sectors. Highlights included representing Civicon Africa Group in a $72m dispute concerning the construction of a gas extraction barge in Rwanda, and advising Galliford Try Building in a Β£17m project for the construction of a hotel and spa at a UNESCO World Heritage site. Key figures include Akin Akinbode and the β€˜tenacious’ Gurbinder Grewal, who β€˜has an encyclopaedic knowledge of construction law’ and β€˜never loses focus of the client’s commercial objectives’.

Sheridan Gold LLP is β€˜an excellent niche construction practice’ that is praised for its β€˜hands-on involvement every step of the way’. The firm exclusively handles construction and engineering work for a client base comprising domestic and international developers, contractors and consultants. Founding partners Peter Sheridan and Jonathan Gold are β€˜talented lawyers who have considerable experience in their sector; they bring a thoughtful and pragmatic approach to each matter’. Sheridan specialises in PFI disputes related to waste and recycling, and Gold acts for contractors and sub-contractors in adjudications, arbitrations and Technology and Construction Court cases. Key active clients include BAM Nuttall, Readie Construction and Willmott Dixon.

Clients of Brachers praise its β€˜excellent backup in contentious matters’. The firm has recently handled a number of disputes for healthcare and education sector clients. Michael Janney heads the practice and specialises in contentious construction matters, advising on risk management, as well as handling adjudication and alternative dispute resolution. Commercial litigation head Michael Oatham is the other key figure.

Clarkslegal LLP regularly handles major procurement and project contracts, joint ventures and dispute resolution, for a range of new and longstanding clients including Carillion Construction, Stanton Williams and the University of Reading. The firm the last client’s estates and facilities department regarding several major projects, including the design and construction of an M4 motorway overbridge, a relief road and a roundabout. The β€˜practical and knowledgeable’ David Rintoul is acting for Randall Watts London on a Β£23m housing development financed by Pluto Finance, which consists of 280 private and shared ownership apartments. Dispute resolution partner Antony Morris is the other key figure.

Cripps LLP has a notable specialism in regeneration and urban renewal projects, and also handles a strong mix of banking, transactional and contentious work in the real estate sector. Recent highlights include advising Slough Borough Council on a major regeneration project procured in partnership with Morgan Sindall, as well as on a flagship development across Slough town centre. It is also handling a dispute with a contractor related to defects and incomplete work related to the Β£1.5m refurbishment of a community centre. Andrew Harbourne heads the construction practice and specialises in contentious property development matters. Nitej Davda advises on a range of construction projects, his key clients including Crossrail and Liberty Property Trust.

The team at Hewitsons is praised for its β€˜very sound industry knowledge’ and for its ability to provide β€˜efficient responses in good time’. The practice receives a steady stream of construction project mandates, advising a mix of contractors, developers and consultants on the full range of contentious and non-contentious construction matters. The firm is notably active in the education, charities and investor sectors, and recently advised Culford School on the drafting of contracts for the construction of a hockey pitch and tennis court. Tim Richards heads the practice, which includes Colin Jones, who advises UK-based and European clients on all aspects of procurement law. Senior associate Lorna Carter is the other name to note.

IBB (Iliffes Booth Bennett) provides β€˜an impressive level of service’, combining β€˜strong strategic input along with advice on commercial risk at all stages of the process’. The group has strong expertise in the commercial real estate sector, and has a strong reputation for its work for housebuilder, contractor and developer clients in energy service company-related transactions, joint venture agreements and major construction projects. The β€˜focused and practical’ Paul Brampton heads the department, and recently advised Aviva on the redevelopment of St Helen’s Square in the City of London. The team also acted for Optimise (Water) in a payment dispute regarding SCADA monitoring at several hundred waste water engineering sites across the UK.

For some, Irwin Mitchell is β€˜an exceptionally strong performer in the construction space’. The β€˜talented team’ provides β€˜good solutions’ and β€˜deals succinctly with complex matters’, with a strong reputation in the education sector. It also handles a high volume of non-contentious instructions in relation to development projects, procurement and engineering-related insurance. In a recent highlight, the team acted for Lambeth College in connection with a transaction with the Education Funding Agency, which will fund the renovation of an education campus in central London. Practice head Mark Clinton has β€˜great legal and commercial instincts’, and has significant experience dealing with construction disputes across the energy, retail, waste management and infrastructure sectors, among others.

Stevens & Bolton LLP’s team is noted for its β€˜quick responses’ and for its ability to provide clients with β€˜a range of different options and approaches’. The practice has been notably active in the healthcare, leisure and high-end residential sectors, advising on every stage of the construction project lifecycle along with procurement, development agreements and funding arrangements. Recent work includes reviewing a range of contracts on behalf of SAB Miller Procurement, negotiating a development agreement for the purchase of land for a major logistics business, and assisting Shanly Homes with two adjudications related to subcontractor accounts. Practice head and chartered engineer Stephen Rockhill β€˜understands the industry very well’ and advises on both contentious and non-contentious construction matters.

Birkett Long LLP’s β€˜excellent’ team has β€˜a huge knowledge of processes and procedures’, and is β€˜always able to provide efficient contributions to problems’. The group advises on standard form contracts, development agreements and bonds and guarantees, while its contentious strength extends to handling adjudications, mediation and arbitration along with litigation at the Technology and Construction Court. The practice recently advised Langham Facilities on several contracts and sub-contracts for the development of Sky Gardens in London, and acted for Stonechart Property on various purchase agreements. Peter Allen heads the construction team, which includes Keith Songhurst, who focuses on contentious issues, and David Rayner, who advises on development land and environmental matters.

Clients of Bond Dickinson LLP single out the construction team’s β€˜professional and timely advice’ and β€˜excellent breadth of knowledge’, which β€˜compares very favourably with City firms offering the same services’. Senior associate Ben Willis (β€˜very hands-on with great sector knowledge’) recently acted for the Church Commissioners for England on the Β£25m construction of a purpose-built building to be used for the housing of the archives of the Church of England. The group also advised Faithdean on several construction contracts for refurbishment, office fit-outs, demolition and extension works. Simon Lewis heads the department and is ably assisted by associate Amy Hodge, who handles the full range of non-contentious matters.

The β€˜experienced and capable’ team at EMW Law LLP β€˜takes the time to learn the client’s business inside out’. Highlights included advising 21 Construction on the Β£15m refurbishment and reconstruction of an office development in London, assisting Adobe Systems Europe with a two-floor lease in the White Collar Factory building, and acting for TXM Plant on the instillation of a section of railway in Docklands, London. Key figures include practice head Michael Chilton, who advises on non-contentious matters, and Derryn Rolfe, who has strong expertise in both construction and engineering law and advises a mix of developers, end users and professionals across a broad range of sectors.

Gullands Solicitors acts for a range of developers, contractors and sub-contractors, architects and construction professionals on the full spectrum of contentious and non-contentious construction matters. In a recent highlight, the group defended Carringwood in an adjudication claim regarding a contract for the construction of 16 residential units, where the contractor claimed costs for extensions of time and variations. The practice also acted for Birkby Construction in two adjudications regarding a sub-contract for fit-out works at Old Lodge Place in Twickenham, where a jurisdictional challenge was issued. David Brown heads the department and has strong experience in handling disputes before the Technology & Construction Court (TCC). Health and safety law specialist Andrew Clarke is also recommended.

Mundays LLP advises developers, tenants, lenders and contractors throughout the project lifecycle, and maintains a strong client base of corporate and high net-worth clients across the South East region. Key figures include practice head Pippa Beesley, who focuses on residential and commercial developments; Joseph Kean, who has strong experience in all areas of dispute resolution; and Kevin Healy, who advises on land acquisitions, development agreements and joint ventures. Vision Engineering is an active client.

Pitmans LLP is noted for its expertise in marine engineering matters, and also advises clients in the hotels, design and leisure sectors on the full range of construction matters including site acquisition, planning, procurement and disputes. The group recently advised Merlion Housing Association on its Β£4.5m purchase of a floor on the landmark development in Ashford, The Panorama. It is also representing Soveper LDA in a dispute concerning the mobilisation of a dredger across the Atlantic, along with the removal of gravel and rock material. David Gwillim is the leading figure and has a strong breadth of experience in the construction and engineering sectors both domestically and abroad. Other key clients include Oxford Homes, Ridgeway Group and Frazer-Nash Research.

Birketts LLP’s notable clients include Direct Electrics South, Dean Street Developments and Wes Futures; the firm recently acted for the last client in an adjudication against Allen Wilson Construction, a matter related to unpaid sums for works carries out at a building on the Strand. Key practitioners include practice head Andrew Rush, who acts for a range of funders, developers, public sector bodies and contractors; Ruth Sunaway, who has notable experience in handling high-value claims at the Technology and Construction Court; and Stefan Harris-Wright, who advises on bespoke forms of contract. Senior associate Carolyn Porter is also recommended, and has represented clients in disputes regarding payment recovery, time extension, loss of expenses and defects.

Boyes Turner has an extensive track record handling the preparation, negotiation and completion of professional appointments, building contracts, collateral warranties and bonds and guarantees, and also has considerable experience in all forms of construction-related dispute resolution. Led by senior associate Rowan Turrall, the group recently acted for a homeowner in a dispute with their household insurers following a failure to rebuild the client’s home to a satisfactory standard, and is advising a developer in a liquidated damages claim. Consultant John Starr recently advised a contractor on a loss of profit claim following a breach of contract by their employer, successfully resolving the matter at adjudication and before the High Court.

BrookStreet des Roches fields a β€˜strong’ team that brings β€˜a multitude of specialities’ to the table, wrapping them in an ability to β€˜explain complicated construction and planning issues in layman terms’. The practice primarily handles commercial property development, assisting with procurement, construction contracts and maintenance and framework agreements related to projects across the Thames Valley and nationwide. Highlights included acting for MEPC on a pre-let to Adaptimmune Therapeutics, which aims to expand its global headquarters with a new purpose-built laboratory in Milton Keynes. Practice head Joe Bellhouse has strong construction and engineering sector experience, and has advised on a number of electricity generation projects. Solicitor Ben Denton is the other name to note.

Geoffrey Leaver Solicitors LLP’s areas of specialism include development site acquisition, planning queries, construction contracts and collateral warranties, bonds and guarantees. The team acts for a sizeable client base of developers, housebuilders and sub-contractors in the Milton Keynes area, and is increasingly advising on complex construction and development projects. The practice is also strong in all areas of dispute resolution, representing its clients in adjudication, mediation and arbitration. Richard Millard is the leading practitioner and specialises in commercial disputes, and Darren Millis is recommended for his property expertise.

Howes Percival LLP has substantial experience in both contentious and non-contentious construction matters, with notable expertise in property development, financing, investment and construction insolvency. The team continued to advise Turnstone on the construction aspects of its Development Funding Agreement, which was negotiated with Phoenix Life, and was also instructed by Barwood Capital on its construction documents for a series of future developments across Milton Keynes, Birmingham and Cambridge. Practice head Philippa Hebbard specialises in non-contentious construction matters, and consultant Doug Masson is the key contact for dispute resolution.

Palmers’ β€˜excellent’ team is praised for its ability to deal with all types of construction disputes, from adjudications to litigation and arbitration, and β€˜provides efficient advice at all stages of the dispute resolution process’. The firm is continuing to act for a high net-worth individual in a multi-party dispute at the TCC related to construction of a leisure building. Other highlights included representing a defendant in a dispute concerning an application of a bespoke insulated render system. Practice head Adam Davis is β€˜an impressive lawyer who is keen on reducing the risks of litigation whilst also pushing hard for the clients’ objectives’. He is ably assisted by Maisie Yau and the β€˜capable and efficient’ Jack Swadling.

Rix & Kay Solicitors LLP advises a range of construction companies, subcontractors and developers on contested payment applications, defects claims, adjudications and court proceedings. In a recent highlight, the group represented a client in a dispute with a building owner regarding a loft conversion project, seeking costs for complete demolition and rebuilding. Department head Francis Wallace has strong experience in commercial disputes, often involving cross-border elements, and key partner Alistair Rustemeyer is noted for his marine sector specialism.

The β€˜experienced and capable’ team at Thomson Snell & Passmore provides the full range of project-related construction services including project documentation, ancillary support and dispute resolution. Clients include a mix of developers, funders, contractors and professional consultants; Avenue Building Company, Kentish Projects, RBS and Svenska Handeslbanken are all key names. Chris Whittington heads the team and has substantial experience handling non-contentious construction matters, advising on procurement methods and drafting, collateral warranties, bonds and other assorted documentation. Senior associate Chris Kirby-Turner is the other name to note and specialises in multi-party TCC claims. Highlights included advising an Italian installer of high-end kitchens on the construction of its flagship London showroom.

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Legal Developments in South East for Construction

  • Parking rights: here to stay? Consent might be the surprising answer 

    In the field of the acquisition of easements by prescription, little has caused more consternation over the last decade or so than the question of whether a right to park cars can be acquired by twenty years user as of right. The types of property capable of being adversely affected range from individual residential units all the way up to major development sites. The establishment of such a right can have a devastating impact on the value of the burdened land.

    - Falcon Chambers

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