DAC Beachcroft LLP's sizeable construction and engineering department draws on the firm's network across the UK. The group is traditionally instructed by education and public sector bodies, but its client base also includes regional contractors and sub-contractors, residential developers and national housebuilders. It has also been increasingly active in the energy and investment sectors. Warren Kemp leads the contentious construction side of the practice, and department co-head James Harrison focuses on non-contentious matters. Stephen McLellan also stands out for construction disputes. The team has also been strengthened by sustained expansion, most recently evidenced in the appointments of Andrew Clough and associate Ruth Davidson from Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP in May 2020. Roddy Gordon retired in April 2019.
Construction in North
DAC Beachcroft LLP
‘The team is responsive, friendly and professional. It adopts a strategic approach to situations and works with you rather than for you.‘
‘Always willing to give advice and help out. There is also strength in depth across all areas of property and development.‘
‘Warren Kemp always displays great enthusiasm for construction matters and always provides pragmatic advice.‘
‘Warren Kemp has both personality and knowledge of construction disputes. Warren is always available, never too busy, and inspires other people in the business to do the same.‘
‘The two partners I work with most are Nicky Fairbairn and James Harrison and think highly of both. They are approachable and friendly, yet highly professional. The service they deliver is, in my view, the best in the region.‘
‘Andrew Clough is a exceptionally strong team member among colleagues, I have worked with him as he is a highly sought-after excellent construction lawyer.‘
Newcastle City Council
Bellway Homes / Bellway plc
Tyne and Wear Passenger Transport Executive
Vinci Construction UK
Bowmer & Kirkland
Metnor Construction / Metnor plc
Crest Nicholson plc / Crest Nicholson Operations
University of Sunderland
- Advised Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council on a development management agreement between the client and St Modwen Developments.
- Acting for an international contractor in relation to a dispute with its operator client concerning project overruns to a data centre in London.
- Acting for Bellway Homes on the new build development of its new head office and as anchor tenant of a new business park at Newcastle International Airport.
Operating as part of the firm’s wider national network, Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP’s construction and engineering department is equally adept at handling contentious and transactional matters. The practice is known for its expertise in the public, retail, energy and infrastructure sectors. In addition, the Newcastle-based group regularly acts on offshore and subsea sector matters alongside the firm's office in Aberdeen. Practice head Simon Rowland is noted for his non-contentious work for education clients, while Ian Atkinson has particular expertise in PFI and PPP projects. The team is also active on the contentious side, with the 'excellent' Simon Lewis specialising in construction litigation. Andrew Clough and associate Ruth Davidson departed to DAC Beachcroft LLP in May 2020.
‘Womble Bond Dickinson has an excellent approach to case management, as it has a very dynamic team with the respective breadth and depth of experience. The lawyers react quickly to challenging circumstances and provide valuable guidance in relation to the matters they handle.‘
‘Every team member understands my requirements and the details of each individual project. There is always someone available to deal with queries. Everyone really works well as a team, so that I never have to wait for advice.‘
‘Simon Lewis is an excellent construction lawyer who is highly regarded by his team for his clear and strategic approach.‘
‘Ian Atkinson in the Newcastle office is our go-to lawyer – he’s taken the time to truly understand our business, how it operates and its risk profile which means he is perfectly placed to advise in any given situation.’
‘Ian Atkinson and Amy Hodge are key players. I have worked with them for years – they are unfailing in their attention to detail and value for money.’
Department for Education / Education and Skills Funding Agency / LocatED
B&Q / Kingfisher
SABIC Petrochemicals UK
Hargreaves Services plc
Newcastle City Council
IKEA Properties Investments
University of Durham
Ark Education Trust
Northumbrian Water Group
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
- Advising the Department for Education, as well as the Education and Skills Funding Agency, on their capital programmes.
- Advising Newcastle City Council on a landmark refurbishment of a prominent city centre building.
- Advising Durham County Council on the procurement of its new civic headquarters project.
Muckle LLP counts notable public and private sector players among its longstanding clients, who praise the team’s ‘solid, dependable and commercially oriented advice’ on non-contentious construction matters. The Newcastle-based team has carved out a solid reputation in the commercial and residential development space; the growing practice of recently promoted partner Adam Aston stands out in this regard. Department head Lucilla Waugh ‘has excellent sector knowledge’, which she utilises in handling complex construction projects, including PPP projects across the North East.
Other key lawyers:
‘Solid, dependable and commercially oriented advice‘
‘We have always received partner-led services from the team — this is one of Muckle’s strengths compared to other firms. The partners in the team know us and our business well, which means that we get appropriately tailored advice, and we get it quickly. We also get continuity of advice which is very important to us.‘
‘In my 30 years of experience, I have never dealt with a legal team which is more proficient and competent than the team at Muckle LLP. The team members have significant experience in managing all aspects of commercial law, yet they manage to deliver a personal service. I would not hesitate to recommend them and have insufficient words to express how brilliantly they handled all our negotiations.‘
‘We get the majority of our construction advice from Adam Aston. Adam is proactive, and the advice we get is clear and commercial, thereby helping us to reach a successful conclusion to whatever transaction or issue we are dealing with. Adam recently helped us with a substantial disposal and managed the construction aspects of the transaction in an efficient and commercially sensible way. This is what we value in our advisers and what we get from the team at Muckle.‘
‘Lucilla Waugh was methodical, passionate, committed and dedicated to delivering the best possible service. With her significant experience, she was able to communicate the intricate legal details in plain English!‘
‘Lucilla Waugh has excellent sector knowledge and knows all the tricks that the other side is likely to use.‘
The University of Newcastle
McAleer and Rushe
NNT Lift Co
Cundall Johnstone and Partners LLP
Bowmer and Kirkland
AVID Technology Group
South Staffordshire District Council
- Acting for the University of Newcastle on large development projects, including the client’s new 96,975 sq ft teaching and learning facility valued at £39m, its new £16m indoor sports facility, and the refurbishment of its existing sports centre.
- Advising McAleer and Rushe Group on the 1023-room ‘Lancaster Gate’ student development in the centre of Birmingham with an estimated development value in excess of £90m.
- Acting exclusively for Aura on a range of projects where the client assumes the capacity of a lead consultant and/or contractor, in delivering refurbishment and new build works at public sector facilities throughout Newcastle.
The construction and engineering practice at Ward Hadaway places a particular emphasis on commercial property and public sector projects. The team is noted for its varied sector-specific expertise, which includes the hotel, leisure, energy, pharmaceuticals, mining and engineering industries, among others. Tim Craig heads the department, where Paul Reekie is also a key contact; alongside their expertise in non-contentious matters, both Craig and Reekie have significant experience handling all types of dispute resolution procedures in the construction industry.
South Tyneside Council
Inn Collection Group
Thirteen Housing Group
University of Newcastle Upon Tyne
McAleer & Rushe Group
University of Buckingham
Northumberland County Council
- Advised Story Contracting in relation to outstanding claims arising out of a rail project where Story Contracting acted in its capacity as a subcontractor to Carillion.
- Advised South Tyneside Council on the new Middlefields Recycling Warehouse scheme; work included drafting related contracts and handling the client’s construction-related queries.
- Advising Inn Collection Group on construction documentation relating to the development of three hotels, including one refurbishment, one refurbishment and extension, and one new build.
A new player entering Newcastle's construction law market, Clyde & Co LLP’s practice was built by Mary Anne Roff, who joined from Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP in February 2019. Benefiting from the firm’s network nationwide and internationally, the team acts for a mix of contractors, asset owners and developers, and consultants. The team also has significant experience handling construction-related disputes. The group's sector-specific expertise spans energy, power and infrastructure.
‘We have found the services provided by Clyde & Co to be invaluable to our company. The legal advice provided by Clyde & Co has been clear and concise, and has assisted our decision making in the course of two construction disputes.‘
‘During the past year, we have worked closely with Mary Anne Roff. Mary has provided us with invaluable guidance in relation to a construction dispute, which we were able to settle very satisfactorily. She quickly grasped the issues associated with the dispute, and successfully guided us through the numerous obstacles presented by the third party and its legal adviser. Mary is an approachable person, who was willing to enlighten us, as lay persons, in certain aspects of law.‘
Offshore Management and Consulting
MW High Tech
- Acting for a UK contractor in relation to its appointment as management contractor on a central London mixed-use development involving a number of tower blocks, energy centres and other associated works.
- Advised Ro-Bal Steel on a final account dispute concerning works to a historically important building in one of the UK’s most high-profile cultural regeneration projects.
- Advised Solarig, a Spanish solar farm contractor, on disputes concerning four EPC contracts and maintenance contracts at solar farms in the UK.
Hay & Kilner
The construction and engineering department at Hay & Kilner is ‘professional, personable, and a pleasure to deal with’. Practice head and senior associate Jan Rzedzian is the key figure in the team, which has extensive experience acting in adjudication proceedings, among other contentious issues arising in the construction industry. The team also has expertise in alternative dispute resolution, with a particular focus on mediation.
‘The team is professional, personable, and a pleasure to deal with. Great depth of knowledge combined with excellent communication skills — this means that complex issues and recommended solutions are explained in a way that can be readily understood. All of this particularly applies to Jan Rzedzian.‘
Howard Russell Construction
Arrowbuild & Civil Engineering
G A Smith
Groundwork Services (Durham)
IKM Testing UK
All Saints Construction
P Plunkett Tiling Contractors
PSP Architectural / Pressed Steel Products
R J Utility Services
- Represented Arrowbuild & Civil Engineering, a specialist sub-contractor, in opposing an adjudication brought by a sub-sub-contractor in relation to a substantial residential development in Darlington.
- Represented Groundwork Services (Durham), a civil engineering sub-contractor, in an adjudication and a subsequent settlement with a prominent regional main contractor.
- Acted for main contractor Howard Russell Construction in a dispute with an employer arising out of a Joint Contracts Tribunal (JCT) Design and Build Contract, following the completion of £6m works at a large research park.
Sintons LLP is well versed in transactional construction work, drawing on the past experience of practice head Alex Rayner as a quantity surveyor. In particular, the team excels at handling a wide array of contractual arrangements for high-value construction projects. Another growing area of focus for the department is contentious construction work, where it has been acting for multiple contractors. Other clients include developers, sub-contractors, funders and consultants.
‘Very knowledgeable, approachable and friendly team. Some of its advantages include commercial and practical advice, speedy responses, and the attention provided by senior lawyers. Our construction advice has primarily been provided by head of the team Alex Rayner. Our comments also apply in relation to Alex.‘
The Auckland Project
Jerram Falkus Construction
Dalton Homes (North East)
Pilgrims Friend Society
Thompsons of Prudhoe
Meldrum Construction Services
- Advised Northumbrian Water on the design, build and operate contracts for a wastewater treatment plan in Gibraltar.
- Advised Greggs on the construction and engineering contracts for the construction, supply, installation and commissioning of a new automated freezer facility in a new build 3,650 sq m frozen storage area.
- Advised Pilgrims Friend Society on the construction contracts for the design and build of a new 48-bed residential care home for the elderly in Chippenham.
Born out of the 2019 acquisition of legacy firm Watson Burton, Weightmans’ Newcastle-based team forms part of the firm’s national construction group, which is led from Manchester by Colette Morgan-Ford. The department maintains its traditional focus on litigation, frequently handling contentious construction issues. Richard Palmer acts in professional negligence and insurance claims in the construction industry. In December 2019, former practice head David Spires departed to Hawkswell Kilvington Limited.
‘The team is very knowledgeable in the area of law in which I am involved. The team members listen to all comments made by clients and advisers, and provide clear advice on legal matters.‘
‘I have worked with Richard Palmer and his team of solicitors. All demonstrate extensive knowledge, provide clear advice, and explain the reasoning behind their advice. Matters are discussed with the clients, giving them advice on ways forward including explanations of the benefits and the risks associated with following any particular route.‘
Black and White Engineering
Daikin Applied (UK)
BXB Interiors and Architecture
Sunderland City Council
The Castle Building Services Organisation
Henry Riley LLP
- Advised Sunderland City Council in relation to its defects claim against its main contractor, Balfour Beatty, appointed to design and build a flagship leisure complex and Olympic-sized swimming pool.
- Representing a key party in the Grenfell Tower Public Inquiry (GTI); recent work includes handling a significant disclosure, liasing with the GTI, and attending ongoing hearings at the GTI.
- Successfully handled the conduct of adjudication on behalf of a contractor client, resulting in the award of nearly the entirety of the client’s sought relief.