'The expertise of the firm is excellent and they are all approachable and friendly', remarks a client of Birketts LLP. The firm has a deep bench of construction specialists who handle development funding, contract documentation, due diligence, and advice to all sectors of the construction industry on disputes including arbitration, court proceedings, adjudication and mediation. Andrew Rush and Ruth Sunaway in Ipswich, along with Stefan Harris-Wright in Cambridge, are the practice heads and leaders in their field. Senior associates Josh Ripman, Oli Worth and Katrina Bretten in the firm's construction and engineering group are also recommended.
Construction in East Anglia
‘Client care and understanding of the client’s brief is very good, as is taking a pragmatic and flexible approach to answering minor queries. Supporting the client in negotiations is also very strong. Value for money is very good. The firm is excellent at responding promptly to queries and matters, and in an understandable way. The expertise of the firm is excellent. In addition, they are all approachable and friendly.‘
‘Extremely commercial in their approach. They retain good partner involvement.‘
‘Stefan Harris-Wright is excellent, providing concise, commercial advice every time.‘
Acai (7-11 Cavendish) Limited
Burlington Capital 1 Limited
SJK Properties Limited
This Land Limited
Trust for London
Frontier Estates Limited
Big Sky Development Limited
Baylham Care Centre Limited
Mr & Mrs Harding
Kilnbridge Construction Services Limited
Inspired Clapham Limited
Grove Business Park Limited
Future Biogas Systems
McGee Civil Engineering Limited
Wharfside Regeneration (In Administration) Ipswich Limited
Barry M Cosmetics Limited
- Handling a TCC claim for Baylham Care Centre Limited concerning defects in the design and construction of a care home. Claim value circa £750,000. Proceedings settled two weeks before trial leaving the Part 20 proceedings to proceed to trial.
- Advising and drafting construction documentation for a developer, Acai (7-11 Cavendish) Limited, of a central London redevelopment close to Oxford circus. Deal value circa £13m.
- Handling a dispute for Barry M Cosmetics Limited concerning a final account for the design and construction of a new factory premises in Mill Hill. Barry M was successful in being awarded monies in Adjudication and Merit (the contractor) resisted enforcement. Enforcement proceedings commenced and judgment awarded in favour of Barry M.
The construction and engineering practice at Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP plays a lead role in major national and international construction projects, notably in the transport infrastructure, logistics and senior living sectors. Practice head Dominic Lacey is based in Cambridge; other notable practitioners in the office include partner Tom Douglas and principal associates Catherine Andrews, Ed Freeman and Patrick Cooney. Douglas specialises in transactional construction work for clients including transport authorities, central and local government, investment funds, developers, lenders, higher and further education providers and contractors.
‘Personable, knowledgeable lawyers with an eye for detail. They are able to translate complex provisions into understandable terms.‘
‘Tom Douglas is very good, approachable and knowledgeable whilst remaining pragmatic. Ed Freeman is also very knowledgeable.‘
Brunel University London
Signature Senior Lifestyle Limited
Legal & General
High Speed Two (HS2) Limited
Transport for London
London Legacy Development Corporation
Audley Court Limited
Government of Slovakia
Dacorum Borough Council
Government of Rwanda
- Supporting Audley Court in all of its development sites, working closely with the project managers. This has included developing, negotiating and managing precedent suites of contracts, as well as contract administration and disputes.
- Assisting the Government of Slovakia with the D4R7 – Bratislava Bypass, a public private partnership between our client and the Concessionaire. It is only the second PPP project in the Slovak Republic.
Mills & Reeve LLP is engaged in some of the most high-profile development projects in East Anglia, as well as handling work across the UK and internationally. It is currently involved in major projects in the education, agribusiness and green energy sectors. It acts for major contractors, including East Anglia's largest family-owned contractor RG Carter, as well as large developers and government departments. Stuart Thompson in Cambridge leads the practice and handles both construction contracts and disputes. Principal associates Alexandra Pike and Robert Weatherley, senior associate Gary Rushworth and senior legal advisor Alison Garrett are also names to note.
‘Mills & Reeve is appointed to provide advice and support to the University of Cambridge Estates Division. Their service has always been efficient and reliable. They have gone beyond basic requirements, for example, in storing University documents and managing workflows through a client database.‘
‘UoC Estates Division Projects Section manages around 100 capital projects at any one time with a portfolio value of around £1bn. Stuart Thompson, Robert Weatherley and Kate Warren are focused on providing legal support advising on appointment and contract strategy, negotiating detailed agreements, managing document workflows through a large, complex and disparate organisation and in supporting the management of disputes and legal action. They have at all times been wholly reliable and proactive in execution of this work.‘
‘An efficient, streamlined and value for money firm.‘
‘Gary Rushworth, senior associate, is timely, available, efficient, able to work with the business and acts above his status.‘
‘Stuart Thompson, partner, shows excellent leadership, broad experience and is a calming influence on the business when under pressure during negotiations.‘
South West London and St George’s Mental Health NHS Trust (employer)
Urban & Civic (employer)
Trinity College Cambridge, Trinity College (CSP) Limited, Dunsfold Airport Limited (employer)
RG Carter (contractor)
Hill Marshall LLP (employer)
Knapp UK Limited (contractor)
Howard Group (employer)
British Council (employer)
Cantillon Ltd (contractor)
English Architectural Glazing (contractor)
- Advising South West London and St George’s Mental Health NHS Trust on the development of two new mental health hospital buildings (Forensic and Non-Forensic Unit) together with infrastructure supporting new housing being developed by Barratt and City & Country (a listed building developer).
- Acting for Urban & Civic in relation to the construction contracts for 7 of their key development sites (they are a master developer). This has involved putting in place numerous consultancy appointments, infrastructure contracts and standalone building contracts.
- Advising Trinity College Cambridge, Trinity College (CSP) Limited and Dunsfold Airport Limited on development agreements for various areas of the Cambridge Science Park with Tuspark, which has invested £200m into the site.
Greenwoods GRM has 'a small but effective construction team with a personal touch' that provides 'value-added, prompt and practical advice'. The firm handles regional, national and international construction work. Lorna Carter, who works in the Cambridge, Peterborough and London offices as required, is a member of the Federation of Master Builders’ Standards Committee and she stands out for both advisory work and contentious matters. She co-leads the practice with Howard Crossman, who works predominantly in London and co-ordinates the firm's international work.
‘The key strengths observed include the ability to digest a case and understand its particulars promptly, and the balanced feedback where the approach is always to reach a resolution rather than engage in lengthy processes. The main drivers were protection of interest, sound advice and a practical approach. At no point in time was financial benefit a driver. This is something to respect.‘
‘Howard Crossman is remarkable in the ability to predict and simulate various scenarios and advise on appropriate course of action to deal with complex situations. He has the ability to integrate with a team and become a member who proactively engages away from any personal interests. He identifies gaps and possible areas of challenges. He has the ability to deliver, organise and guide in a very time-efficient manner.‘
‘It is a small but effective construction team with a personal touch.‘
‘Howard Crossman, who leads the construction team, is hands on. He gives value-added, prompt and practical advice.‘
‘The staff are very engaging and are always available to provide advice.‘
‘Lorna Carter is exceptional at her role. Extremely efficient and completely understanding of what legal support is needed by clients.‘
‘Greenwoods have served us well over many years, with a pragmatic approach to solving problems.’
‘Lorna Carter is someone we use regularly for advice with negotiating terms, she looks at the problem from an all-round perspective and gives us valuable help to reach swift agreements.‘
‘I appreciated the quickness of responses in dealing with our case.‘
‘Having not had many occasions to use legal firms our knowledge is limited. However, Howard Crossman was recommended to us by a previous law firm that couldn’t act for us on this occasion. We have found Howard to be very efficient and approachable. Everything was explained thoroughly. We are pleased with the service so far.’
‘Howard Crossman is a thorough, conscientious and knowledgeable partner who always goes the extra mile to get the information and do the work.‘
The Federation of Master Builders
Studio Ashby Limited
Woods Hardwick Ltd
Morrison Utility Services Ltd
Cladding UK Limited
Bob Black Construction Limited
Campbell Buchanan George Limited
The Edmund Trust
Godfrey & Hicks Builders Limited
JWF Commercial Solutions Limited
JWF Building Solutions Limited
- Represented Studio Ashby Limited in negotiations for its appointment for interior design services for a residential project in Paris, France and a separate contract with an interior design/property agency.
- Advising Campbell Buchanan George LLP on a new suite of precedent construction documents, drafting these and providing training.
- Advice to an engineering company on a multibillion-dollar matter pertaining to corporate contractual issues, governmental processes, compliance investigations and construction projects.
HCR Hewitsons has a single construction team across its offices that handles a diverse range of projects in the education, charity, real estate, engineering and energy sectors. Among its clients are commercial and residential developers, manufacturers, contractors, investors, Oxbridge colleges, the Government’s housing agency Homes England, national charities, private schools and education trusts, architects and engineers. The practice is led from outside the region, but managing partner Colin Jones in Cambridge is a key player in high-value projects. Solicitor Sardeep Gill is recommended for both advisory work and contentious matters.
Other key lawyers:
‘Their friendly and accessible approach is vital. I have known a range of the legal professionals at the practice for a number of years and they offer clear and straightforward advice. I also like their development programme where they perpetually seem to be bringing through new professionals and giving them support to become future leaders of their profession. They also do a lot of work with the local community and their senior partners are involved in a range of key industry groups.‘
‘Colin Jones has been an important component in many of the project teams I have put together over the years. His non-confrontational and pragmatic approach means that negotiations with other consultants tend to go very smoothly.‘
British Institute of Interior Design
Skako Concrete A/S
- Advised Osborne Developments (Colchester) Limited on the development of a multimillion-pound student accommodation project in Colchester.
- Advised Osborne Developments (Norwich) Limited on the construction elements of a £17m accommodation development in Norwich.
JG Poole & Co. LLP
JG Poole & Co. LLP began life as a specialist higher education boutique practice, with construction a key part of its offering, but it has now expanded into other sectors. Practice head Katherine Souter, who is a 'dedicated expert in her field' who shows 'great enthusiasm and legal understanding to ensure legal matters are addressed promptly and effectively'. Having focused initially on construction, public procurement and state aid in the education sector, the firm now has a growing roster of developer clients. Clients praise the firm for its 'good understanding of construction law and a higher level of dedication than most law firms'.
‘The firm is great to have on board. Trusted and very quick turnaround times for advice.‘
‘Kat Souter is a dedicated expert in her field.‘
‘We like their personal service and quick response times. Larger practices suffer, in our opinion, from slow response times and a more distant relationship.‘
‘JG Poole is extremely reactive and committed, we get fast responses to queries with full backup team if our main contact is unavailable. Excellent understanding of the construction industry in our Higher Education Sector.‘
‘The team is personable, approachable and fully committed with full team backup when one is unavailable. Katherine Souter has provided us with brilliant support on tendering frameworks.‘
‘In our experience, JG Poole has offered a very personal and dedicated approach to all matters instructed and advice has always been prompt and insightful to allow well-informed decisions to be made with regard to contentious and non-contentious matters. In our experience JG Poole have demonstrated good understanding of construction law and a higher level of dedication than most law firms that we have worked with in the past.‘
‘Katherine Souter has always expressed great enthusiasm and legal understanding to ensure legal matters are addressed promptly and effectively following instruction. Katherine has always been accessible to our business when required with excellent communication and advice.‘
University of East Anglia
University of Hertfordshire
Canterbury Christ Church University
Buckinghamshire New University
Birmingham City University
London Metropolitan University
Paragon Land & Estates Ltd
University of Essex
Harper Adams University
University of Brighton
Varsity Consulting Ltd
Clear Consulting and Design
- Advising the private sector on a £55m student accommodation partnering project.
- Advising University of East Anglia on the construction and procurement elements of a new £75m contractor framework.
- Advising University of Hertfordshire on the construction contract for a new sports science facility.
Ashtons Legal is best known for its non-contentious construction work in support of the firm's property team, which handles development and banking and finance work. It also drafts building contracts and other professional team documents for large-scale construction projects. The group led by senior associate Sarah Duncan in Ipswich, who is 'very much on top of her brief', has particular expertise in the education and charity sectors.
‘A team with strength in depth and knowledgeable individual team members.‘
‘Sarah Duncan provides good advice and is very much on top of her brief.‘
Buckles Solicitors LLP has a strong construction practice based outside East Anglia, with key partner James Coppinger and his group based in Nottingham, but the firm's Peterborough office is involved in complex matters through its commercial property and litigation teams. Head of dispute resolution James Maxey is involved in high-profile construction disputes.
Other key lawyers:
Empiric Student Property PLC (and group companies)
Settle Group/Rowan Homes (NNHH) Limited
Longhurst Group Limited
Keystone Developments Limited
MAKE Consulting Limited
Taylor French Developments Limited
7 Formation Limited
Forshaw Land & Property Group Ltd
INTEC Engineering GmbH
Hill Partnerships Ltd
- Acting for the developer in relation to a land-swap deal in which our client acquires a football ground to redevelop with housing in return for constructing a new football stadium on an alternative plot.
The practice at Greene & Greene in Bury St Edmunds is now led by 'very competent' specialist construction solicitor Sarah Western. Adept at both contentious matters and advisory work, the firm increasingly handles instructions from London-based developers. The work includes funding, procurement and preparation of tender documents, contracts, collateral warranties and guarantees, property-related matters and disputes. Clients describe a 'small, focused team that is hardworking and dedicated to client care'.
‘Sarah Western is very competent.‘
‘One of only a few legal firms that are reasonably local to me that appear to provide the service required and as the others are from much larger practices, their fees in comparison are significantly higher and the work I require to be actioned is relatively “small beer” to them.‘
‘I have mainly dealt with Sarah Western. She has always been quick to respond and she provides clear and helpful advice and guidance including the reasoning for giving the advice she does. Often, competitors will respond in legal jargon and terms which are not clear and do not assist my understanding of the position.‘
‘A small, focused team that is hardworking and dedicated to client care.‘
‘Sarah Western is great to work with, very focused on getting value for client and a good communicator.‘
‘A new but growing construction team. Sarah Western is one to watch!‘
‘Greene & Greene takes its cases seriously, and it takes the needs of its clients seriously. They’re reliable, cost-effective, and having been both against them and instructed by them, I can say that they are one of, if not the best firm of instructing solicitors for dealing with cases in an impactful and efficient way.‘
‘Sarah Western and Rob Adam are standout members of the firm. Rob is vastly knowledgeable and has a talent for getting to the core of the problem. Sarah is methodical, works every angle, and cares passionately about her clients.‘
Dunamis Infrastructure Services Limited (a subsidiary of Fulcrum Utility Services PLC)
- Drafted and negotiated all the relevant construction documentation in respect of RC Treatt’s new flagship premises outside Bury St Edmunds.
- Advised Dunamis on a complicated ICP contract concerning electrical infrastructure works. Dunamis is the contractor, and its works require the connection of two gas turbines to electrical transformers, which Dunamis is then responsible for connecting to the national grid.
'From start to finish, the service is excellent,' says a client of Howes Percival LLP. 'You know when he gives you advice it is sound,' says a client of practice head Simon Franklin in Cambridge who focuses on non-contentious construction work. The practice, which also handles construction disputes, acts for developers, institutional landowners, banks, occupiers, contractors and consultants, as well as a growing number of designers and suppliers of modular holiday homes and manufacturers of specialist steelwork.
‘Always prompt initial availability and dedication to client needs. The firm provides good support through all processes and is on hand quickly when required through the ongoing process.‘
‘From start to finish, the service is excellent.‘
‘The firm has the capability to tune in quickly to requirements and is always able to give good guidance and clear information which is comprehensible. The lawyers are always accessible, approachable and very supportive with a constructive approach.‘
‘Simon Franklin and Carl Mifflin have provided us with excellent guidance and service.‘
‘Howes Percival LLP has a personal approach to client interaction that you no longer get with other practices. It is far more akin to professional relationships of old and that builds trust. It tailors its advice to individual needs without compromising professional standards.‘
‘Our relationship is with Simon Franklin who we trust to give sound and common sense advice. A person who is happy to use a few words instead of pages of description with no meaning.‘
‘You know when Simon Franklin gives you advice it is sound. If there are any holes he will identify them, if he doesn’t know and needs to refer back he has no shame in telling you. We trust him because he has a no-nonsense approach.‘
‘Excellent engagement with an extensive knowledge base. As it is a wide-ranging practice covering many aspects of law, you receive competent advice where issues cross disciplines as well as access to partners specialising in other fields.‘
‘Very knowledgeable and approachable, they translate very complex issues into plain English. Simon Franklin feels like an extension to our own business and goes to great lengths to understand our business model and requirements. We cannot recommend him highly enough.‘
Alaris Developments Limited
Onesite Solutions Limited
Hampton Brook (UK) Limited
- Advised specialist steelwork manufacturer Onesite Solutions Limited on its largest contract to date for works at Luton Airport.
- Ongoing advice to development client Carislease Limited on the construction and management of its multimillion-pound property portfolio.
- Ongoing strategic contract advice to residential development client Alaris Developments Limited.