Firms To Watch: Construction

Gateley Plc are expanding into Northern Ireland with the recruitment of Lisa Boyd from Cleaver Fulton Rankin.

Construction in Northern Ireland

A&L Goodbody

A&L Goodbody‘s team has experience in the full spectrum of construction matters, with a record of working on high-value projects. Department head Brendan Fox has more than thirty years of experience in the practice area and enjoys a strong reputation as a litigator. Micaela Diver, who regularly advises housing associations, utility companies and local authorities, and Tracey Schofield, who is advising on an £87m office development in the centre of Belfast, are other key contacts. Energy specialist Mark Stockdale and senior associate James Flanagan are also noted.

Practice head(s):

Brendan Fox

Other key lawyers:

Micaela Diver; Tracey Schofield; Mark Stockdale; James Flanagan

Work highlights

    Carson McDowell

    Carson McDowell‘s specialist construction team is composed of experts in planning, procurement, and health & safety law. The firm is particularly active on social housing, education, and office developments, acting for major infrastructure clients such as Belfast Harbour Commissioners and Translink. Stuart Murphy leads the team and impresses with over thirty years of experience in contentious and non-contentious work across Northern Ireland and England and Wales. John Dugdale leads on complex and high-value advisory work, but has additional experience in dispute resolution. Associate Gavin Kerr is a name to note.

    Practice head(s):

    Stuart Murphy

    Other key lawyers:

    John Dugdale; Gavin Kerr


    ‘Knowledge and understanding of key issues.’

    ‘John Dugdale gets to the crux of a problem quickly, nothing phases John.’

    ‘Carson McDowell provides a very comprehensive and thorough service across all their disciplines. They embrace forward- and positive thinking throughout their business practices.’

    ‘Without question John Dugdale is an outstanding individual in his field of expertise.’

    Key clients

    Belfast Harbour Commissioners


    McAleer and Rushe



    Queen’s University, Belfast

    Northern Ireland Electricity Networks

    Education Authority

    Ulster University

    Oakland Holdings

    Work highlights

    • Advised Oakland Holdings on the development of a 175-bed aparthotel close to Belfast City Hall, the first in Belfast.
    • Acting for McAleer & Rushe on the development of a 213,000sq.ft mixed use development in Belfast city centre, which includes the conservation, refurbishment and extension of a listed building and the construction of a new 17-storey tower.
    • Advising Belfast Harbour Commissioners on the development of a major new ferry terminal at Victoria Terminal 2.


    Tughans is active across Northern Ireland, Ireland, and England and Wales. The ‘non-pretentious, friendly, knowledgeable and easy to deal with’ team acts on matters from a diverse range of sectors, including energy, infrastructure, manufacturing, and telecommunications. Michael McCord and Tim Kinney co-lead the team, with McCord regarded as a market leader for construction disputes and experience in working for private and public governmental clients, and Kinney offering experience in construction, engineering, and procurement.

    Practice head(s):

    Michael McCord; Tim Kinney


    ‘Prompt with replies and action and well-resourced. Good collaborative approach is part of the culture.’

    ‘Non-pretentious, friendly, knowledgeable and easy to deal with. I value their approachability and affability.’

    ‘Tughans has the leading team in Belfast in construction litigation.’

    ‘Michael McCord is the “go-to” person in construction disputes. He is prepared to roll up his sleeves and get stuck into every case and is tenacious in seeking the best outcome for his clients.’

    ‘Tughans’ construction practice matches and surpasses the ability of all the London law firms I have encountered in the past.’

    ‘I have always found Tim to be available when needed, to understand our business and to negotiate a contract in a pragmatic manner whilst always delivering a solution that protects our interests.’

    ‘Very relevant long term experience.’

    Key clients

    Indaver NV

    BAM/F.P. McCann Limited (Joint Venture)

    Fibrus Networks Limited

    FP McCann

    Ardagh Metal Beverage UK Limited (part of the Ardagh Group)


    Student Roost/Brookfield Asset Management

    Department for Infrastructure

    Apple Inc.

    Reeflive Limited

    Work highlights

    • Advised Indaver NV in respect of the overall procurement pathway being adopted for the development of a waste-to-energy facility in Rivenhall, Essex.
    • Acting for DFI in the defence of a £40m adjudication claim brought by a roads contractor on a major roads project in NI where the contractor alleged it is entitled to extra time and extra money as a result of the Covid 19 pandemic having allegedly delayed the works.
    • Advising AML on procurement options in respect of a new state-of-the-art beverage can plant in Northern Ireland.

    Arthur Cox Belfast

    Arthur Cox Belfast has been a popular choice of financiers, employers, contractors and consultants looking for advice during the disruption of the coronavirus pandemic. The team acts on both contentious and non-contentious matters, consistently active on high-value mandates. Co-head Cahal Carvill specialises in construction litigation, with experience in arbitration, adjudication, and mediation, while co-head William Curry covers non-contentious large-scale project work.

    Practice head(s):

    William Curry; Cahal Carvill

    Other key lawyers:

    Darren Fitzsimons


    ‘Good knowledge and direct experience of government work, the dynamics and machinery of government in Northern Ireland. Always client-focused and prepared to go the extra mile for their client.’

    ‘Personable and not in any way arrogant. Good at listening and making the client feel at ease – no airs and graces or egos. Cahal Carvill has been particularly impressive.’

    ‘Provides very clear and precise guidance and advice to the client. Information returned in a timely manner.’

    ‘We have worked with Cahal Carvill and found him to be extremely professional at all times.’

    ‘Arthur Cox’s construction team is top of the class in Northern Ireland. The team’s responsiveness, availability and strategic thinking is what sets them apart from the competition.’

    ‘William Curry is very strong on non-contentious and procurement construction matters and Darren Fitzsimons is a great further addition to the team.’

    ‘Arthur Cox’s construction practice is top of the market. They understand our business and provide clear, concise and commercial advice that has allowed our business to grow and develop over the last few years.’

    ‘Cahal Carvill is our guy, astute, knowledgeable and above all commercially savvy. Any issues we have, he’s always at the end of the phone, day or night.’

    Key clients

    Apex Housing Association (Glenmona)

    Abu Dhabi Al Islami UK

    Mutual Energy Limited (EP contract)

    Department for Communities

    Mutual Energy Limited

    Matagorda2 Limited

    TES (Hinchley Point C)

    William Coates Limited

    TES Technologies Limited (CAW Joint Venture)

    Donegall Quay Management Company Limited

    Work highlights

    • Advise Apex Housing Association on its development of the largest single social housing scheme in the history of Northern Ireland.
    • Acted for the main funder on the acquisition by a Saudi Arabian entity of the landmark Merchant Quay office building in Belfast City centre.
    • Advising Mutual Energy on the key construction contracts for the Kilroot power station project.

    Cleaver Fulton Rankin

    Cleaver Fulton Rankin acts for a broad client base, working for developers, contractors and public sector bodies across the education, residential, and leisure sectors, among others. Practice head Patrick Fleming has particular expertise in advising local authorities on high-value projects. Aaron Moore  leads on contentious matters, with a special focus on dilapidations claims, and is a guest lecturer at Ulster University on alternative dispute resolution in addition to being an adjucator for the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors’ panel in Northern Ireland. Associate Director Anna McClimonds is another key team member.

    Practice head(s):

    Patrick Fleming

    Other key lawyers:

    Aaron Moore; Anna McClimonds


    ‘Knowledge and understanding of the litigation process.’

    ‘Sound communicators.’

    ‘Patrick Fleming – very approachable.’

    ‘What makes them unique is that they have the expertise and experience at many levels to quickly understand the increasingly complex commercial and contractual issues and to develop innovative solutions for clients in the times of unprecedented turmoil that exist within the construction industry.’

    ‘Patrick Fleming and the team at CFR are exceptionally talented and knowledgeable in providing advice to clients in construction & procurement areas of law.’

    Key clients

    Northern Regional College

    Northern Ireland Housing Executive

    BAM FP McCann JV

    Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council

    Baker Tilly Mooney Moore


    Lyric Theatre

    Conway Group

    Education Authority

    Work highlights

    • Advising the Northern Regional College (“NRC”) on the appointment of contractors for the construction of new college in Coleraine.
    • Advising the Northern Regional College (“NRC”) on the appointment of contractors for the construction of new college in Ballymena.
    • Advising a government department on claims arising from a major public highway development and upgrade scheme.

    Caldwell Solicitors

    Caldwell Solicitors was founded in January 2018 and is steadily establishing its reputation as a specialist construction engineering & procurement law practice. The firm is active on contentious and non-contentious matters, including the provision of training packages to private and public organisations. Managing director Kenny Caldwell leads the team, and is regarded as a ‘super lawyer’, and ‘a leader in the field of construction law‘. Caldwell is supported by associate solicitor Stefan Berry.

    Practice head(s):

    Kenny Caldwell

    Other key lawyers:

    Stefan Berry


    ‘Excellent team.’

    ‘Kenny Caldwell is a leader in the field of construction law.’

    ‘The full team works in a very collaborative way and accepts full responsibility for driving the issue until completion.’

    ‘Kenny is a super lawyer. A real specialist in his field.’

    ‘This is a niche practice which focuses its expertise on construction law thus ensuring that it does not spread that expertise thinly across multiple disciplines.’

    ‘Kenny Caldwell uses the law to great commercial effect. He is focussed on the desired outcome for his clients rather than unnecessary academic debate with little commercial value. He understands his clients’ business.’

    Key clients

    Waterways Ireland

    Combined Facilities Management Ltd

    Pute Fitout Associated Limited

    Ballymore Civils Limited

    Atlas Fire and Security (NI) Limited

    Oakleaf Contracts

    ROL Testing Limited

    Michael Nugent Limited

    M. Clare & Sons Ltd

    Entegro Limited

    Work highlights

    • Acting on behalf of Pure Fitout Associated Limited in multiple adjucations and enforcement litigation in the Irish High Court.
    • Advising Waterways Ireland on the procurement law elements of the Ulster Canal Restoration Phase 2 project.
    • Acted on behalf of Combined Facilities Management Limited in defending High Court proceedings commenced by Northern Ireland Housing Executive.


    DWF‘s Belfast office works closely with the firm’s other teams across the UK and Ireland to provide a versatile service capable of working across borders. Practice head David McNeice is triple qualified in Northern Ireland, Ireland and England and Wales, and is recognised as a leading expert in NEC contracts. Senior associate Aine McGuinness is experienced in construction litigation, including in multi-jurisdictional matters.

    Practice head(s):

    David McNeice

    Other key lawyers:

    Aine McGuiness


    ‘The team at DWF is very knowledgeable in all aspects, if they did in fact need to update their knowledge they carried it out without fuss and to a speedy conclusion.’

    ‘No job was too small and ensured that every step of the way was communicated and understood.’

    Key clients

    Liverpool City Council

    Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists

    Ares Management

    The National Museums & Galleries of Merseyside

    Dublin Airport Authority

    GB Bio Limited

    Castlehaven Property Finance 2 DAC


    Work highlights

    • Advising the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists in relation to a judicial review of a below threshold procurement of a dynamic purchasing system in Northern Ireland.
    • Assisting the Dublin Airport Authority with putting together the appropriate contracts to underpin a cargo handler warehousing redevelopment project.

    Mills Selig

    Mills Selig fields a team active in a wide range of industry sectors, with a record in contentious and non-contentious matters which makes them a consistent favourite for housing associations. Practice head Adrian Kerr is experienced litigating, adjudicating and mediating across both planning and construction. Associate Conor Mulligan is also noted.

    Practice head(s):

    Adrian Kerr

    Other key lawyers:

    Conor Mulligan


    ‘Collaborative, commercially-minded and work things through with clients in context of risk solutions. Focused, pragmatic, thorough knowledge of construction and sector.’

    ‘Adrian Kerr – we trust his knowledge and advice. Pragmatic and solutions-focused thorough knowledge of construction and housing association sector.’

    Key clients

    Clanmil Housing Association

    Radius Housing Association

    Construction Employer’s Federation

    Choice Housing Association

    Felix O’Hare & Company

    Glasgiven Contracts Limited

    Gilmore Engineering Services Limited

    Habinteg Housing Association (Ulster) Limited

    Lotus Homes

    GEDA Construction

    Work highlights

    • Acted for Clanmil Housing on all construction matters.
    • Act for Choice Housing Association in relation to its extensive ongoing construction project portfolio.