Due to its ‘great technical skills’ and significant size, DAC Beachcroft LLP’s team is regularly called upon by clients to handle a full scope of construction issues. The department’s recent workload testifies to its unsurpassed strength in the housebuilding segment of the market, where it also benefits from numerous panel appointments by clients the like of Bellway. The firm is a destination preferred by public sector institutions and multiple universities; it is also an increasingly popular choice for contractors and employers in the energy sector. James Harrison sits at the helm of the non-contentious construction group and is often ably assisted by legal director Rachel Gibson. Warren Kemp provides ‘honest, down-to-earth advice’ and leads the construction litigation group, where Andrew Clough and associate Ruth Davidson are also noted. Counting multiple large regional contractors among his clients, Stephen McLellan also has a wealth of dispute resolution experience at both national and international level.
Construction in North
DAC Beachcroft LLP
Warren Kemp; James Harrison
Other key lawyers:
Andrew Clough; Stephen McLellan; Rachel Gibson; Ruth Davidson; Deborah Robinson; Ashley Simpson
‘The human-centric approach makes this practice stand out. That is the desire to want to get to know you and the business within which you work, all for the purpose of ensuring you maintain your reputation, you are supported and you have the advice you need to influence outcomes and inform risk-based decisions.’
‘Warren Kemp stands out for me: he always looks to provide honest, down-to-earth advice with clear return on investment.’
‘Extremely good on contentious matters and also very knowledgeable on construction phase matters (and dealings with contractors).’
‘Warren Kemp – very knowledgeable and provides sensible and pragmatic advice on defusing possible contentious situations.’
‘Great technical skills but commercially savvy as well. Very good to work with.’
‘Real service ethic, very hard working, first-rate drafting and document turn around. Great to work with.’
‘The coherence of the team is outstanding – it is definitely a team and not a group of individuals. They work well together to provide a holistic client service.’
‘The individuals are professional, yet friendly and approachable.’
Bellway Homes Limited / Bellway plc
University of Sunderland
Places for People Homes
Newcastle City Council
Essar Oil (UK) Limited
South Tyneside Homes
Metnor Construction / Metnor plc
- Advising University of Sunderland on the design and construction of a new build centre.
- Advising Essar Oil (UK), owner and operator of the Stanlow Manufacturing Complex near Liverpool, on a construction and engineering contract concerning the installation of a new CD4 Furnace at the Stanlow Refinery.
- Advised a contractor on the negotiation of the waste-to-energy EPC contract with Dublin-based lawyers.
Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP is noted for its ‘excellent’ full-service offering, but is perhaps best known for its high-profile national and regional client portfolio including names of the calibre of the Department for Education and Newcastle City Council. In addition to its strong public sector offering, the team demonstrates an impressive depth of expertise in the energy and chemicals sectors. The practice brings significant firepower in the construction litigation arena; Simon Lewis regularly takes the lead on contentious mandates and is recognised as a ‘highly experienced, organised and efficient litigator’. Further, in the words of one satisfied client, department head Simon Rowland is ‘the most client-friendly construction specialist I have come across’. Rowland specialises on non-contentious transactional matters, and so does ‘brilliant problem solver’ Ian Atkinson.
Other key lawyers:
Simon Lewis; Ian Atkinson
‘Womble Bond Dickinson operate as one team, nationally. As a result, they have very good coverage of the market.’
‘Collaborative approach and takes the time to understand our requirement so that more tailored advice is given.’
‘Simon Rowland is perhaps the most client-friendly construction specialist I have come across. When he brings a team to a project, he maintains control and client liaison which is so important. In general terms, I find their construction department excellent.’
‘Simon Lewis is a standout practitioner. Highly experienced, organised and efficient litigator. He is also extremely fair and a pleasure to deal with.’
‘WBD have a good depth and breadth of knowledge in the key areas needed by my organisation. They have a robust and supportive team structure capable of responding to requirements quickly and effectively. Their advice has always been first-rate and they take the time to clearly understand and talk through options not just react to a request.’
‘All individuals I have worked with have been experienced, knowledgeable and capable of understanding our requirements. All have provided excellent advice and deliverables quickly and appropriately. Ian Atkinson has always taken time and effort to fully understand the background to our needs and provide a bespoke, effective response, often picking up the telephone and discussing issues first-hand to ensure requirements are completely understood.’
‘Ian Atkinson was quickly able to understand the nature and objectives of the business and deliver a cost-effective contract solution that the business uses to manage contracting and associated risks in respect of development projects. Before speaking with Ian, we had approached other law firms, who we felt did not engage in the same way that Ian did to properly understand the concerns and objectives of the business. We were very pleased with the outcome delivered by Ian.’
‘I have known and worked with Simon Lewis for a significant period of time; his local, national and international expertise is first-class. He applies a hands-on approach to understanding the technical issues, which is essential when presenting legal argument.’
Department for Education / Education and Skills Funding Agency / LocatED
B&Q / Kingfisher
Sabic Petrochemicals UK Limited
Hargreaves Services plc
Newcastle City Council
Ikea Properties Investments Ltd
University of Durham
Ark Education Trust
Northumbrian Water Group
Ministry of Justice
Department of Health
- Advising the Department for Education on the delivery of free schools and the refurbishment of the entire UK school estate, in addition to advising on the £3bn Modern Methods of Construction framework.
- Advising the Durham County Council on the procurement of its new civic headquarters project.
- Advising Grainger plc on its acquisition and development of private rented sector schemes across the UK.
Clyde & Co LLP provides ‘partner-led, honest and pragmatic advice’ to a mix of international and regional blue-chip clients, main contractors, developers and consultants. The team is particularly experienced in contentious issues arising out of engineering, procurement and construction contracts; it is also a go-to destination for energy and infrastructure sector work. For work at national or cross-border level, the practice draws on the firm’s multi-disciplinary capabilities in London, Bristol, Singapore and Madrid, among other locations. Praised for her ‘very positive, reassuring and confident attitude’, Mary Anne Roff heads up the department where senior associate Claire Cutmore is also noted.
Mary Anne Roff
Other key lawyers:
‘Partner-led, honest and pragmatic advice.’
‘Mary Anne Roff is patient, pragmatic and sensible in finding a way through issues. I have a lot of trust in the advice we receive as a business and find a really valuable sounding board in the team at Clyde & Co.’
‘Effort and hard work all round – tight deadlines and speed of response was excellent.’
‘Good knowledge and ability to get things done.’
‘Clyde & Co were clear from the start that they wanted to fully understand the technical design issues of the dispute and the contractual situation before providing legal advice. Mary Anne Roff was proactive and provides clear advice.’
‘Mary-Anne Roff is knowledgeable about construction and can handle small adjudications through to large arbitrations.’
‘The practice is very forthcoming in terms of understanding the problems and the pitfalls associated with the legal solution we think is best for our construction dispute resolution. They are very pragmatic in advocating mediation and resolution without resorting to litigation, which is hugely refreshing. It is also worth noting that the entire team we utilise are female, which shows fantastic diversity. The transparency couldn’t be better, making an often difficult (construction dispute) a very pleasant experience.’
‘Mary-Ann is our contact and has a very positive, reassuring and confident attitude to construction disputes and has a vast understanding of the likely successes or failures that could result from the legal actions taken in dispute resolution.’
York Potash Limited
Anglo American plc
The Auckland Project
Metnor Construction Limited
MW High Tech Projects UK Ltd
- Advising York Potash Limited and Anglo American plc on all construction and engineering aspects of a $3.2bn mining and tunnelling project.
- Acting for a Finnish-based global EPC contractor in a dispute with an owner of a power station arising out of a power construction project in Europe.
- Acting for Metnor Construction in a claim brought against an engineering consultant in administration for damages for breach of contract in respect of professional services provided on the design and construction of a new leisure centre in Greater London.
Muckle LLP is recognised by clients for inspiring ‘full confidence in the team’ and ‘the ability to call in specialist advice from other offices as required’. The practice handles construction disputes by acting hand in glove with the firm’s dispute resolution team. Its non-contentious work also stands out in relation to a full range of services relating to complex contractual arrangements. Notably, the department has increased its work flows with respect to work in the education, housing and energy industries, as well as instruction from contractors in administration. Practice head Lucilla Waugh and Adam Aston are a highly regarded duo, which ‘always understand the question and can provide detailed responses to a lay client in an understandable way’.
Other key lawyers:
‘The breadth of knowledge available and the approach that Muckle bring enable full confidence in the team. They have the ability to call in specialist advice from other offices as required to respond to sometimes very specific legal issues.’
‘Lucilla Waugh and Adam Aston are particularly noteworthy as I have worked with them both recently. They always understand the question and can provide detailed responses to a lay client in an understandable way to allow decisions to be made and progressed. This has continued throughout the pandemic’
‘Excellent team, very experienced and helpful. Always available to help with those urgent questions.’
‘The team is relatively small and personable which is great if you seek that continuity as a client.’
The University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Guernsey Electricity Limited
Aura Newcastle Limited
McAleer and Rushe
Gentoo Group Limited
Bowmer and Kirkland Limited
- Advising Home Group on the construction aspects of the development of its new national headquarters.
- Acting for the developer arm of the McAleer and Rushe Group on the construction elements of the £100m GDV development of a large student accommodation building and multi-storey care park at Cannon Park, Coventry.
- Acted for the University of Newcastle on the design and construction contracts for its new £16m indoor sports facility in Richardson Road.
Ward Hadaway’s construction practice is ‘very reliable, accurate, diligent and fast-working’. The groups brings together notable non-contentious expertise in commercial property development, with a particular emphasis on hotel, leisure and retail projects, among others. Project-related work in the public sector is also a forte for the team; it acts for local authorities, education and health sector clients, with department head Tim Craig being a go-to adviser in this space. Clients also recommend associates Alan Ross and Neil Williamson.
Other key lawyers:
Paul Reekie; Alan Ross; Neil Williamson
‘The team at Ward Hadaway are well experienced in construction law and as such I have great confidence when dealing with them and seeking their advice and support with any issues. What I believe makes their practice stand out against other firms is that they get to know the business they are working with and understand the culture; they aim to ensure that their advice and support is tailored to achieve the desired outcome.’
‘In terms of innovation, Ward Hadaway were at the forefront of supporting my business through the really difficult initial period of the Covid-19 pandemic. The pragmatic view and approach they helped us to take with a number of our clients was key in securing a favourable outcome in very trying circumstances.’
‘The majority of the work Ward Hadaway have carried out for my business has been carried out by Alan Ross. Alan’s approach to working with my business has been exceptional. Alan has taken time to understand my business and the areas of the sector we operate in, whilst offering sound legal advice. His support has ensured that consideration is given to the culture of my business and how we aim to be perceived in the market place. I value Alan’s support and advice as I genuinely believe he has a good grasp of what is going on in the industry and the potential impact of changing legislation and working practices on my business. Alan’s professionalism and working manner are excellent, he is happy to explain things in a way that makes sense regardless of your knowledge of legal terminology.’
‘Neil Williamson has always provided us with an excellent service – very professional, knowledgeable, with the minimum of fuss and bother to the client. I would certainly recommend Neil on all construction contract matters.’
‘Very reliable, accurate, diligent and fast-working.’
‘The individuals we have dealt with are extremely reliable, professional and always willing to go the extra mile, especially during the pandemic, to ensure an excellent service. We value their expertise, knowledge and friendly approach.’
Hay & Kilner
Hay & Kilner’s ‘true construction experts’ have a strong track record in a wide range of contentious and non-contentious issues relating to construction projects in the housing, retail, commercial development and care sectors. Notably, the group’s recent standout caseload includes multiple appearances before the Technology and Construction Court, though it is also adept at handling claims in the High Court and the Court of Appeal. ‘Insightful, clever and astute tactician’ Jan Rzedzian leads the practice.
Other key lawyers:
‘The Hay & Kilner team are true construction experts, especially Jan Rzedzian who is an insightful, clever and astute tactician.’
‘Jan Rzedzian is a true leader in his field and probably one of the best true construction litigation specialists in the North East who has developed a very strong and loyal following.’
‘The ethos that comes over is very much a personal approach to high-quality professional advice. Prompt responses are always delivered.’
‘Jan Rzedzian is an outstanding construction lawyer and is my go-to individual in the North East on all construction-related legal issues due to his in-depth knowledge as well as personal and prompt attention.’
Howard Russell Construction Ltd
Arrowbuild & Civil Engineering Ltd
G A Smith Limited
Groundwork Services (Durham) Limited
Park Lane Healthcare Group
All Saints Construction Limited / High Street Group
Surgo Construction Limited
R J Utility Services Ltd
P Plunkett Tiling Contractors Limited
- Acted for Howard Russell Construction Limited in a series of disputes with a sub-contractor across three adjudications and truncated Part 8 proceedings in the Manchester Technology and Construction Court.
- Advised developer Park Lane Healthcare on the construction contract for a £6m care home village development in Barmby Moor, East Yorkshire.
- Advised Farad Maftoon (t/a FM Construction) as main contractor in successful Part 8 proceedings in the Leeds Technology and Construction Court.
Sintons LLP has experience of handling both non-contentious and contentious work, but has carved out a particularly strong reputation for its work on high-value construction and engineering contracts in sectors such as education, care homes, residential development and food production. The team’s varied client portfolio consists of main contractors, sub-contractors, employers and developers. Alex Rayner leads the department and ‘is able to offer excellent practical advice’; clients also show appreciation for his knowledge gained in his previous career as a quantity surveyor.
Other key lawyers:
‘Alex Rayner who leads the team at Sintons is able to offer excellent practical advice. He communicates well with managers in our business without use of legal jargon and has become our go-to expert on all construction matters. Alex makes the legal process needed for large projects easy to manage.’
‘As a part of the multi-disciplinary legal support delivery, Sintons have managed to deliver a traditionally high level of response and client care whilst blending this with modern and very responsive options in terms of what is available and how that is delivered.’
‘Alex Rayner and Jay Balmer have been our main points of contact in terms of matters that have needed attention and assistance. The levels and speed of response have been impressive, as well as the invaluable guidance through the nuances of dispute, contract, and resolution processes to comply with legislation. Alex has made us feel confident and comfortable throughout.’
‘Sintons offer a friendly, ‘pick up the phone’ type of approach which is different from a lot of other law firms we have used. Alex Rayner leads the construction team; with his previous QS background, Alex brings a pragmatic, working knowledge of construction contracts and consultant appointments beyond merely the legal drafting of contracts.’
‘Alex Rayner is a very hands-on lead partner and has the added quality of having a commercial background in construction, which is unique compared to his peers.’
‘The firm has multi-disciplinary depth and strength and is able to provide local clients with a broad range of commercial law services comparable to that of a larger City law firm.’
‘Alex has excellent knowledge and skills in relation to construction law and is able to support and deliver his advice in a very responsive and client friendly manner, and to identify what is important to us commercially and practically. We have always found Alex to be very approachable and professional in our dealings with him.’
Jerram Falkus Construction Ltd
Tolent Construction Ltd
Tolent Living Ltd
Thompsons of Prudhoe Ltd
The Auckland Project
Pilgrim’s Friend Society
StanLil Contractors Ltd
Meldrum Construction Services Ltd
Hodgson Sayers Ltd
HRC Newcastle Ltd
Sansec Developments Ltd
Bernard Interiors Ltd
Itab Interiors Ltd
- Acted for Jerram Falkus Construction on negotiating the building contract for the design and development of a complex multi-million pound school and residential development in Acton, London.
- Advising Dalton Homes (North East) Ltd on negotiating the building contract for design and construction of an 80-bed care home in Crowthorne, Berkshire.
- Advising a large charity on the construction contracts for its major regeneration project in Bishop Auckland, County Durham.
Weightmans has a strength in litigation and alternative dispute resolution in the construction sector; of particular note, Richard Palmer specialises in professional negligence claims in the construction industry, while Anne-Marie Knight is also noted for her defence work on multi-party cases. In addition, the team is well versed in advising on construction contracts. Colette Morgan-Ford heads up the practice, where clients also single out principal associate Natalie Keyes.
Other key lawyers:
Natalie Keyes; Richard Palmer; Anne-Marie Knight
‘Good at making use of a national team; i.e. if specialist knowledge or experience is not available in the local team, they are good at bringing that resource in from another team.’
‘Natalie Keyes is very pragmatic and commercial in her approach. She is able to take into account the value of a service to us as a business and provide a service and fee that reflects that.’
Sunderland City Council
The Morton Group
Esh Construction Limited
Hiscox Underwriting Limited
C.N.A. Insurance Company Limited
Rubb Buildings Limited
WHP Engineering Limited
Hamilton Underwriting Limited
Tokio Marine HCC
The University of Greenwich
Co-Operative Foodstores Limited
Cocksedge Building Contractors Limited
The Laurus Trust
- Advising professional indemnity insurers in relation to claims made by Shepherd Construction Limited against nine companies relating to various allegations of defects, primarily in relation to cladding.
- Advising for a design and build contractor on contentious issues relating to the a newly built office facility.
- Advising Lok Developments JV2 Limited on a secured £17m investment for the development of 37 homes at the former Sanderson Hospital site.