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Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP’s two-partner team focuses on clean energy construction and infrastructure matters, primarily based outside of Wales. Team head Rob McNabb is advising DONG Energy on the negotiation of an offshore cable crossing agreement, which will, when completed, be exporting electricity from the world’s largest wind farm. McNabb also handles a significant amount of work for Blackrock on its renewable energy projects, including the acquisition of multiple portfolios of solar photovoltaic projects. Alison Short has a focus on major infrastructure matters; working alongside lawyers in the firm’s Birmingham office, she is leading the representation of EDF Energy’s subsidiary company, NNB Generation Company, on the negotiation of a range of contracts for the £18bn Hinkley Point C nuclear project. Senior associate Madi Dacey is developing a strong reputation among developers, utilities and funders across a range of energy projects including biomass, wind and solar. Other clients include E.ON Energy Projects, RWE Npower and Dwr Cymru Welsh Water.

The ‘very responsive’ and ‘innovative’ four-lawyer team at Acuity Legal Limited provides a ‘cost-effective service’ to many of the UK’s most prominent developers, contractors and lenders, and is praised for its ability to provide ‘first-class advice in a very clear and concise way’. Rightacres Property remains a cornerstone client of the firm; ‘exceptional’ team head James Williams has been advising it on several major local projects, including the development and construction of Wales Broadcasting House and the Interchange Building (a high-profile mixed-use development in the centre of Cardiff). Other clients include Mears, Principality Building Society and Wolverhampton City Council.

Blake Morgan LLP’s two-partner team provides ‘responsive and commercial advice’ to private and public sector clients across the spectrum of non-contentious and contentious matters, and is praised for its ability to ‘keep abreast of current changes to the industry’. In addition to advising on a significant amount of high-profile work in Wales, the firm is also able to leverage resources from its offices in the South East of England to handle matters emanating outside of Wales. The ‘unflappableJoanna Rees has a strong reputation among UK-based clients, who appreciate her ability ‘to put things into perspective’; she is advising Igloo Regeneration on all issues arising out of the Porth Teigr regeneration scheme in Cardiff Bay. The ‘extremely intelligent, diligent and thoroughRachel Gwilliam is particularly accomplished on the contentious front and is praised for ‘quickly evaluating nuanced and difficult situations’. Gwilliam recently successfully defended a sub-contractor’s claim brought against Beard Construction for payment arising out of an alleged delay and disruption to the completion of its works.

Benefiting from ‘great experience and business acumen’, Hugh James provides ‘first-class advice’ to a mix of private and public sector clients. Led by the ‘knowledgeable and helpfulIoan Prydderch, the team continues to act for Tidal Lagoon Power on the construction of its turbine manufacturing and pre-assembly plant at Swansea Bay. Alun Tobias’s highlights include acting for Ely Mill Development Company on the £100m project to remediate and develop a 53-acre brownfield site in Cardiff. The recent acquisition of London-based boutique commercial property firm Claremont Richards enhances its potential to work on matters outside of Wales, while its merger with Cardiff-based MLM Cartwright in November 2016 has already led to construction work for legacy client SA Brain, which it is advising on all aspects of the joint venture with Rightacres Property to redevelop the Cardiff Brewery site in the centre of Cardiff. Iwan Jenkins and senior associate Matthew Stevens are also recommended. Other clients include Rockwool, the Welsh government, Lagan Construction and Santander.

Led by the ‘experiencedJeremy Williams, Capital Law LLP’s construction practice has made great strides since its inception and is regularly instructed by developers, contractors and utility providers across the lifecycle of a construction project. ‘A very safe pair of hands on construction projects’, Williams has a ‘real understanding of the Welsh market’ and is advising the Welsh government on the M4 Relief Road project – including drafting agreements with various statutory undertakers and private sector companies where the proposed relief road impacts on their interests. Williams also continues to represent the Royal Mint on the design and build of its new visitors centre. Associate Stuart Pearson attracts praise for ‘his knowledge of the non-contentious side of construction contracts, which allows him to really capitalise on the strengths of his clients’ cases’. The arrival of associate Rhiannon Holtham from Clarkslegal LLP adds further depth on the non-contentious front. Other clients conclude Welsh Power Group, Dragon LNG and Arup Consulting Engineers.

Swansea-based Douglas-Jones Mercerpunches well above its weight in terms of the calibre of work it does’, and is particularly noted for its ‘very effective litigation skills’. ‘Tenacious’ team head Philip Graham ‘always goes the extra mile for his clients’ and provides ‘clear, strategic advice’ across a range of construction litigation including both enforcing and defending the enforcement of adjudication awards. The team also has niche expertise in construction insolvency litigation, including recently representing an insolvency practitioner on the recovery of monies paid into an escrow account in respect of construction works immediately prior to the contractor entering voluntary liquidation.

Berry Smith’s construction team primarily handles contentious work for developers, main and sub-contractors, and construction professionals including architects and surveyors. Gavin Hoccom is the primary partner handling work in the area and has a strong track record handling high-value adjudications and arbitrations for plc and SME contractors. Hoccom recently represented a regional contractor in an adjudication against local government regarding the non-payment of an interim account in excess of £500,000 arising from construction works in west Wales. Hoccom is also regularly involved in matters outside of Wales and recently represented a national contractor in an adjudication against an investment fund regarding the unlawful termination of a contract concerning construction works in London. Iwan Doull also handles construction disputes as part of his broad-ranging litigation expertise.

At Darwin Gray LLP, the ‘pragmatic’ Donald Gray ‘pays great attention to detail while not losing sight of the bigger picture’. He handles advisory work including drafting bespoke amendments to building and engineering contracts. Recent highlights include advising Wellington House Developments on the development of former commercial premises into a mixed-use scheme, which involves the construction of two additional floors. Stephen Thompson handles contentious work as part of his broader commercial litigation expertise.

Morgan LaRoche’s team head Steve Mundy has significant non-contentious and contentious expertise on construction matters both locally and outside of Wales. Mundy has a particular niche advising airport operators on construction matters.

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Legal Developments in Wales 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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