A&L Goodbody is notably strong in construction disputes, with renowned litigator Brendan Fox leading the practice. Fox acts for clients such as architects, surveyors, engineers, developers and housing associations. He is acting for The McAvoy Group in a number of adjudications against Clanmil Developments Limited over the construction of a large housing development. Elsewhere, the firm is active in the non-contentious side of construction, with it featuring in a number of large projects in Northern Ireland; associate Claire McGoldrick, who is increasingly active in this space, acts for clients such as employers, contractors and professionals. Mark Stockdale advises on the construction, development and financing of projects in the energy and infrastructure industries. Micaela Diver is experienced in the procurement of construction works, as well as related disputes. Senior associate James Flanagan recently joined from Arthur Cox Belfast.
Construction in Northern Ireland
Other key lawyers:
Mark Stockdale; Micaela Diver; James Flanagan; Clare McGoldrick
‘In my opinion, they are the best firm of construction lawyers in this jurisdiction.’
‘The construction team headed by Brendan Fox is excellent. They are all team players and work very well together.’
‘The team has what i would refer to as a real world practical approach to solving seemingly intractable disputes.’
‘Brendan Fox has a down to earth approach whilst maintaining the highest knowledge of case law to help him form a balanced judgement and strategy for resolving disputes.’
‘People, effort and endeavour.’
Northern Ireland Housing Executive
LIV Belfast Partners
O’Hare & McGovern
The Old Bushmills Distillery Company
The McAvoy Group
Oakland (FRO) Limited
Whitemountain Quarries Limited
Triangle Housing Association
- Advised the Northern Ireland Housing Executive on defence of enforcement proceedings brought by QMAC Construction Limited.
- Acted for Amazon Belfast Limited on its purchase of a newly built 8,500 sq. m “delivery station” at Channel Commercial Park in Titanic Quarter, Belfast.
- Advising LDS Devco on a purpose-built student accommodation project.
Carson McDowell’s team is led by Stuart Murphy, who has nearly 30 years of experience handling non-contentious and contentious construction mandates. John Dugdale and associate Gavin Kerr are other names to note at the firm, which is a first port of call for challenging projects, with it being able to draw upon expertise in ancillary disciplines, such as procurement, planning and health and safety. In 2020, the group was sought after for advice on matters with a nexus to the social housing and education sectors. In addition, the offices market was another key driver of activity. Notwithstanding the challenges caused by Covid-19, the practice was able to secure new client wins in 2020, in addition to continuing to acting for existing clients. Recent work has included Murphy assisting Linen Mill Studios Limited with the construction contracts and professional team appointments related to a new Game of Thrones Studio Tour visitor attraction.
Other key lawyers:
John Dugdale; Gavin Kerr
‘An excellent legal practice with an extremely strong and very capable team. Carson McDowell has provided sound legal advice and guidance to me for many years.’
‘A strong resilient firm and their response to the public health emergency was seamless in terms of productivity.’
‘Stuart Murphy is a vastly experienced and extremely capable legal expert. Stuart is well versed in dispute resolution and his advice is always very sound.‘
‘Subject matter expertise and a thorough and practical understanding of construction works’
‘Stuart Murphy is adept at working cheek-by-jowl with construction professionals and lawyers alike to get the job done and the right result.’
‘Carson McDowell are leaders in dealing with real estate and construction matters with a very proactive and positive approach providing us with confidence and reassurance. Nothing is ever a problem – promptness in responding to our queries is always their priority.’
‘Working with John Dugdale, in particular, is a pleasure. John is a very pleasant individual and has great interpersonal skills. His approach is always well planned and thought through.’
‘Carson McDowell have a great team of people who can cope with a project of any size. It is very clear that some of their partners have relationships with many leading retailers and developers. Carson McDowell can tackle a project of any size always in a professional manner.’
Belfast Harbour Commissioners
McAleer and Rushe
Queen’s University, Belfast
Actavo (Northern Ireland) Limited
Linen Mill Studios
- Advising Belfast Harbour Commissioners on its City Quays regeneration project.
- Acting for Oakland Holdings on the development of a 175-bed aparthotel close to Belfast City Hall.
- Advising McAleer & Rushe on the development of an £85M 213,000 sq ft mixed-use development in Belfast city centre.
Cleaver Fulton Rankin demonstrates strong capabilities in both contentious and non-contentious construction matters, and its team attracts a strong flow of work from contractors, employers and property developers, among other clients. Aaron Moore heads up the contentious construction practice, which is prominent in proceedings at the Commercial Court and Northern Ireland Court of Appeal. On the non-contentious side, practice head Patrick Fleming is experienced in drafting the complex construction and project documentation associated with public and private sector schemes. He is working with Lisa Boyd to advise Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council on the redevelopment of Dundonald International Ice Bowl.
Other key lawyers:
Lisa Boyd; Aaron Moore; Anna McClimonds; Paul Tohill
‘Patrick Fleming has a wealth of experience and knowledge of construction law.’
‘CFR deliver high quality strategic advice at all stages of the construction cycle, from project inception right through to final account and operation of an asset. Their team is (by local standards) young, extremely motivated and led by some of the best local lawyers in the business.’
‘Their extensive knowledge of the construction market has been invaluable to us as an organisation. Their procurement expertise is of the highest calibre, they keep themselves up to date with case law and are then able to provide up to date advice based on same and pertinent to the case they are advising on.’
‘Lisa has always gone the extra mile to provide the required advice, even when that meant working out of hours to achieve tight deadlines. I have valued Lisa’s commitment to the contractual relationship we as an organisation have with CFR.’
‘Very engaging staff and a willingness to accommodate client requirements at all times.’
‘Strong, well-resourced firm with solid relevant experience.’
‘Patrick Fleming – clear thinker and strong communicator.’
Northern Regional College
Northern Ireland Housing Executive
BAM FP McCann
Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council
Baker Tilly Mooney Moore
- Advised Northern Regional Colleges in relation to 2 new further education campuses in Coleraine, and Ballymena, Northern Ireland, worth a combined £85million.
- Advised the Northern Ireland Housing Executive in relation to the procurement of 13 planned maintenance contracts across their entire housing stock of 89,000 properties at a value of £455million.
- Advised BAM FP McCann JV on a procurement challenge related to a major roads and infrastructure scheme in Northern Ireland, namely the York Street Interchange, having an estimate project value of £165million.
Tughans has particular strengths in cross-border projects involving the UK and Ireland. It often advises non-local companies on projects in Northern Ireland, as well as assisting local construction companies with projects in England and the Republic of Ireland. Michael Mccord is a key name for contentious construction issues, focusing primarily on contractual issues and professional negligence. Tim Kinney is also skilled in disputes, and he is also a key name for non-contentious matters, such as construction contracts and procurement. The team's work covers a multitude of industries, such as energy, retail, transport, hospitality and healthcare.
Tim Kinney; Michael McCord
‘Accessible, strategic and strong legal advice.’
‘Tim Kinney – Detailed legal advice with a strategic edge.’
‘Tughans have a leading construction team. They have strength in depth and experience of all sectors. They act for both developers and contractors and are familiar with all the main forms of construction litigation. They handle many adjudications, arbitrations and commercial litigation.’
‘Michael McCord is simply the market leader in construction claims in Belfast.’
‘Excellent industry knowledge and experience, which is leveraged to provide better value for money on new instructions.’
‘Tim Kinney has extensive knowledge of construction law with particular expertise in non-contentious matters. He is responsive, considered and gives significant thought to any query put to him.’
‘During the pandemic, I found the process of working with Tughans seamless. They had a work from home policy which did not restrict my access to my contacts and the response times were not affected. An organisation of their size must be congratulated on being forced into a work from home policy without impact on their clients. To me this shows strong management, an in-house IT team that can react quickly and a staff that can embrace change.’
BAM/F.P. McCann Limited (Joint Venture)
Fibrus Networks Limited
KN Network Services Limited/KN Circet
McAleer & Rushe Contracts UK Limited
- Advised Indaver on the development of a waste-to-energy facility in Rivenhall, Essex.
- Advised BAM McCann on a roads project in Northern Ireland where professional negligence claim has been made against the design engineers.
- Advised Fibrus Networks Limited on the provision of the digital infrastructure in Northern Ireland.
Arthur Cox Belfast's practice, which is led by construction specialist Cahal Carvill and procurement expert William Curry, is strong across the entire spectrum of contentious and non-contentious mandates. The firm is consistently involved in projects of significant value, and it is frequently seen as a go-to by employers, building contractors, developers, consultants and banks, among other clients. Carvill and Curry are leading the advice to the Department for Communities on the construction aspects of the £110m redevelopment of Casement Park. On the contentious side, Carvill acted for North West Regional College in a dispute arising from the redevelopment of its Springtown campus.
William Curry; Cahal Carvill
‘Arthur Cox has remained top of the market this year. We see them as our go-to legal team for all construction related matters. They have a very strong team of lawyers led by Cahal Carvill and William Curry.’
‘Cahal Carvill is particularly commercially-minded and is great at seeing the wood from the trees when advising on complex issues and disputes.’
‘Cahal Carvill is top class, always available and responsive and fights our corner to the very end. He is very good at distilling complex issues and developing a strategy and successfully delivering on that strategy. We see Cahal as an extension of our business and key to our ongoing development growth targets. Arthur Cox as a team are simply best in class!’
Apex Housing Association (Glenmona)
Ulster University (Frederick Street)
Mutual Energy Limited (EP contract)
Department for Communities
TES (Hinchley Point C)
Apex (Bishop Street)
North West Regional College
Ards and North Down Borough Council
- Advised Apex Housing Association on its development of the largest single social housing scheme in the history of Northern Ireland.
- Advising Ulster University on a range of matters relating to its construction of a new campus in Belfast city centre.
- Advising Mutual Energy on the key construction contracts for a project to provide a new gas connection to facilitate the construction and operation of a new ‘energy park’ in Northern Ireland.
DWF's practice is led by newly-promoted partner David McNiece, who is experienced in undertaking both contentious and non-contentious construction matters across the UK and Ireland. His work ranges in scope from contract negotiations to dispute resolution. McNiece is particularly knowledgeable about the NEC form of contract, and he is noted for his advice to clients from both the public and private sectors. On the contentious side, McNiece is experienced in representing clients in a wide variety of settings, notably litigation, adjudications, mediations and arbitration proceedings.
Mills Selig's growing reputation in the construction arena has seen it become a particularly popular choice among housing associations, and it is particularly sought after in claims against contractors and professional consultants. Also notable is that the firm's other key clients include AES (which owns two of the three power stations in Northern Ireland) and BSG Civil Engineering. The main contact at the firm is practice head Adrian Kerr, who is skilled in resolving disputes, due to his experience of litigation, arbitration proceedings and adjudications. In addition, on the non-contentious side, he has extensive expertise in drafting and negotiating various forms of construction documentation, such as building contracts, collateral warranties and demolition contracts, among others.
‘We have worked with Mills Selig since 2016 and find them to be client-focused, professional, knowledgeable and pragmatic.’
‘ We have dealt to date with Adrian Kerr, Head of Construction. Adrian has wide-ranging knowledge of construction and contract law.’
‘Very pleased with Mills Selig’s commercial approach to business-related matters and ability to get resolution to matters raised to date.’
‘Adrian is excellent at getting to the heart of the matter, backed up by a combination of experience, detail, accuracy and speed of response.’
Clanmill Housing Association
Radius Housing Association
Choice Housing Association
AES Kilroot and Ballylumford Power Stations
William & Henry Alexander Limited
BSG Civil Engineering
Pinsent Masons Belfast LLP
Pinsent Masons Belfast LLP is notably strong in the contentious and non-contentious aspects of UK and international projects. Recent work included legal director Ciaran McNamara acting for Queen's University Belfast on the construction of a new students union centre. Other work included acting for AECOM in litigation arising from the redevelopment of Windsor Park and the development of the adjoining Olympia Leisure Centre.
Queen’s University Belfast
DuPont (UK) Limited
Sacyr – Wills – Somague Joint Venture – A6 Dualling Project
Capital Dynamics Limited
Sacyr – Somague SA
- Advised Queen’s University Belfast on the ongoing development of the new student’s union centre.
- Advised AECOM in relation to a dispute and subsequent litigation proceedings arising out of the redevelopment of Windsor Park Stadium.
- Advising Grainger on the £25m forward funding of a build to rent scheme comprising 152 residential units, commercial and amenity space.