Construction in South Africa

Pinsent Masons LLP

Pinsent Masons LLP is the clear leader in South Africa, very much in line with its immense global standing. The firm continues to add big names to its ranks with Jason Smit the latest to join from Werksmans Attorneys in August 2020. The high-quality construction team operates across the front-end and contentious spaces, establishing strong links to developers, lenders and contractors. While much of the practice centres on South Africa, the large construction team is active in construction projects right across Africa, from Nigeria and Ghana to Uganda. Rob Morson leads the market in front-end construction expertise, while Jurg van Dyk is also one the premier names in this space, as is Deirdre SimaanJunaid Banoobhai is key name for construction disputes.

Practice head(s):

Junaid Banoobhai; Rob Morson

Other key lawyers:

Jurg van Dyk; Deirdre Simaan; Jason Smit

Testimonials

‘Superior knowledge, record keeping and exceptional understanding of the construction contracting industry. Very innovative legal solutions.’

‘Exceptional skill in legal solutions and negotiation. Always available and always meets deadlines.’

Key clients

Eris

First Rand

Aveng Group

RMB Westport

Azra part

WBHO

Biotherm

Osborn Engineered Products

Profica Group

Stanlib

Work highlights

  • Acted for Rand Merchant Bank in a project for the construction of a liquid bulk petroleum storage facility and ancillary works, which caters for the receipt by vessel, storage and then distribution by road and/or vessel of petroleum products.
  • Advised Grupo Cobra – Dankocom in relation to all post-construction aspects of a project financed concentrated solar power plant constructed in South Africa.
  • Represented Kuvaninga Energia, the owner of a gas-fired power plant in Mozambique, relating to the appointment of a new operator, as well as relating to the performance of some upgrades to the plant.

Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr

Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr continues to impress in front-end renewable energy engagements, and is also at the forefront of the dispute resolution field. It continues to be engaged by major South Africa parastatals and a number of private employers and developers. Joe Whittle leads the team and is a prominent figure in contentious construction matters, most recently in adjudications and arbitrations. Emma Dempster is a front-end specialist with an excellent record in renewable energy projects, while Cape Town-based Timothy Baker provides further senior firepower in construction disputes and contracts (notably FIDIC); he is also English-qualified. The team was further enhanced by outstanding senior figure Clive Rumsey, who joined from Lawtons Africa in December 2020.

Practice head(s):

Joe Whittle

Other key lawyers:

Emma Dempster; Timothy Baker; Siviwe Mcetywa; Clive Rumsey

Testimonials

‘Quick turn around time, commercial acumen, thinking outside the box.’

‘The team always is always available to assist in any matter.’ 

‘Emma Dempster is by far the best construction lawyer in South Africa. She provides quick turn around times, commercial acumen and she thinks outside the box.’

‘Joe Whittle is very dependable. He is always available to assist with any matter. Joe is very thorough with attention to detail, just what is required for complex construction law matters.’

Key clients

Busyby Renewables

Sasol

Peri Formwork

Clean Energy Africa

ArcelorMittal

BioTherm Energy

Development Bank of Southern Africa

Investec Bank

Southern Energy

Osborn Engineered Products

Transnet

SUNEQ GmbH

Scatec Solar

Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa

Public Investment Corporation

Abland

Gaia Infrastructure Partners

Acciona Group

Southern African Power Pool

Work highlights

  • Represented Sasol in a range of technical disputes including a ZAR300m dispute with one of its contractors.
  • Acted for Scatec Solar in cross-border disputes and claims with the contractor and sub-contractors in relation to the Mocuba Solar PV project (Mozambique), the first large scale solar plant in Mozambique.
  • Appointed as lead legal adviser in drafting the engineering, procurement and construction contract for the Southern African Power Pool, including the design of a procurement programme for the ANNA Transmission Interconnector project, which is expected to link the north western Namibian and the southern Angolan electricity networks.

ENSafrica

ENSafrica offers a balanced mix of front-end and contentious work, along with further expertise in construction and engineering insurance thanks to the presence of Rob Scott, a recent hire from Clyde & Co LLP. The team is especially active in mining, energy, infrastructure and transport projects. The firm is particularly recognised for developer and lender engagements, and for its increasing presence in projects across the continent. Loren Tibshraeny remains a leading figure in front-end construction and EPC matters. Armando Aguiar is highly rated for construction and engineering disputes, and is further noted for his advocacy skills.

Practice head(s):

Loren Tibshraeny

Other key lawyers:

Armando Aguiar; Rob Scott

Testimonials

‘The construction practice is very efficient and knowledgeable about project finance and EPC and O&M contracts. It is one of the best in the market.’

‘They are very practical and innovative in relation to construction contracts and O&M contracts.’

Key clients

Goldwind Africa

ABSA Bank

Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa

Ledjadja Coal

Symbion Power Lake Kivu

Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane

Dian Fossey (Gorilla Fund)

Longyuan

Development Bank of Southern Africa

Investec

McDermott

KC Cottrell Company

Eskom

AngloGold Ashanti

The Amdec Group

Attacq

Kalyan Hospitality Development Togo

Namibian Power Corporation

Talbot & Talbot

Top Well Chemicals

African Mining and Trust Company

Bushveld Energy Company

Solarion Investments

Airports Company South Africa

Infinity Energy

Standard Wool South Africa

Talis Property Fund

Work highlights

  • Advised Ledjadja Coal on the development, construction, mining, operation and funding of a greenfield integrated coal mine, processing facilities and rail infrastructure for the purposes of mining and exportation of coal.
  • Advised ABSA Bank Limited as lender in respect of the installation and financing of a fibre network across a number of cities in South Africa.
  • Assisted Kalyan Hospitality in pursuing its claim against Santam in the South African courts.

Norton Rose Fulbright

Norton Rose Fulbright's construction practice is strongly linked to its illustrious project finance practice, most notably in the renewable energy segment. Moreover, it has a flourishing contentious construction practice, including insurance and professional indemnity-related matters. The sizeable team is spread across its Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban offices. Tony Chappel leads the team and has an excellent record in construction disputes and professional indemnity claims. Gary Rademeyer is a leading front-end specialist with a fine record in renewable energy, gas-to-power, and oil and gas projects; his is also 'a formidable litigator'. Matthew Ash returned to the firm in 2019, adding further senior level expertise to the Cape Town office.

Practice head(s):

Tony Chappel

Other key lawyers:

Gary Rademeyer; Matthew Ash; Sentebale Makara

Testimonials

‘Tony Chappel brings level-headedness and extensive experience to any matter. He understands what clients require from any big dispute and has the insight to guide the matter through large-scale litigation or through a successful negotiated or mediated outcome.’

Key clients

The Energy Group

Ngodwana Energy

Harith General Partners

Juwi Renewable Energies

Veolia Water Solutions and Technologies

WSP Group Africa

Work highlights

  • Acted for Ngodwana Energy as the appointed preferred bidder under the South African Renewable Energy IPP Procurement Program to develop a 25MW biomass fuelled power generating facility at the Sappi pulp and paper mill in Mpumalanga, South Africa.
  • Advised Harith General Partners as a major equity participant in a consortium that has been appointed preferred bidder into Lots in the Kenya Annuity Roads Program (KARP).
  • Advised Juwi Renewable Energies, which was appointed by African Clean Energy Developments (ACED) as the EPC contractor and O&M operator for the construction and operation of three solar PV facilities in Round 4 of the South African Renewable Energy IPP Procurement Program.

Webber Wentzel

Webber Wentzel's burgeoning standing in the construction sector is evident in its work on mining capital projects. The construction team is also active in the broader energy and infrastructure segment, including in the oil and gas sector, and has achieved further growth in healthcare projects. Alessandra Pardini and Tyron Theessen now head the team as part of a shift to a younger and more construction-specialist driven practice. While both are principally noted for front-end matters, they are supported by a number of senior disputes experts that have built genuine expertise in the construction industry; Sarah McKenzie is a prime example.

Practice head(s):

Alessandra Pardini; Tyron Theessen

Other key lawyers:

Sarah McKenzie

Testimonials

‘Multifaceted and sector skilled.’

‘Excellent people, efficient execution and highly commercial.’

‘Deep understanding of the commercial landscape within the sector, very pragmatic in solving solutions.’

‘It is unique due to its team approach and in depth expertise. With this, all angles are considered and a best approach is proposed with action/delivery following shortly thereafter.’

‘The individuals are smart, but not smug, they are confident in their abilities and knowledgeable experts in their fields.’  

Key clients

Netcare

Khoemacau Copper Mining

Oil Tanking Mogs Saldanha

Tshipi É Ntle Manganese Mining

Nordex

Oiltanking Grindrod Calulo

Anglo American including Anglo American Platinum, Kumba Iron Ore and De Beers Consolidated Mines

Bakwena Platinum Corridor Concessionaire

Astron Energy

Liberty Two Degrees

Lebalelo Water Association

Great Dyke Investments

Sola Group including Sola Build

Fraser Alexander

ABB Power Grids

DBT

Dynamic Mining

Stefanutti Stocks Holdings

Framatome

BioTherm Energy

The Development Bank of Southern Africa

Standard Bank

Interwaste

Black Mountain Mining

Sedgeley Solar Saver

Work highlights

  • Advised the Rejem Linton Netcare JV on all construction and procurement legal aspects relating to the development of the Netcare Alberton Hospital.

Allen & Overy (South Africa) LLP

Allen & Overy (South Africa) LLP's compact construction team is led by the highly-respected Gerhard Rudolph, a prominent figure in the the construction disputes space as part of a broader contentious practice. While much better known for contentious matters, he and the team also have genuine credibility in front-end construction engagements. The group represents an impressive range of major employers and contractors, and is active in both South Africa and broader Africa matters. Counsels Michelle Porter-Wright and Kate Daniels provide further senior-level expertise in contentious matters.

Practice head(s):

Gerhard Rudolph

Other key lawyers:

Michelle Porter-Wright; Kate Daniels; Robert Thackwell

Testimonials

‘The team is heads and shoulders above all competitors in the South African market. The partners are commercially sensitive and savvy. The quality of work produced by the team is exceptional and, in the South African context, unique. The team has extensive experience in international arbitration and apply the same standards to their domestic work.’

The partners, associates and candidate attorneys are all down to earth and approachable.

‘Gerhard Rudolph is very personable and easy to work with. He is hugely experienced and I would say his greatest strength is that he is extremely commercially minded.’

‘Gerhard Rudolph sets the tone for the rest of the team in terms of a slick, professional service provided without any stuffiness. As a result, from my experience, they have a very loyal client base.’

Michelle Porter-Wright’s knowledge of the detail of the cases is phenomenal. She is hard working and constantly thinking about her cases, questioning her experts and testing the evidence. Another great strength of Michelle is that she is very good at handling clients – including management of expectations, document management, getting detailed witness statements done under time pressure. She strikes a perfect balance of utmost professionalism whilst remaining personable.

‘Kate Daniels and Michelle Porter are both very involved in their matters, ensuring that they understand the complexities of construction and the specific matters. Their briefs are well thought out as they have spent time with the matter prior to getting the experts involved.’

Robert Thackwell is also exceptional. He is organised, on top of documents and deadlines. He is interested in his matters and always considers strategy and the commercial requirements of clients. An absolute pleasure to work with for clients, experts and counsel.

Key clients

Aveng Group (including Aveng (Africa) and Aveng Grinaker)

ABB South Africa

Anglo American Group (including AngloGold Ashanti)

Group Five (including Group Five Construction and Group Five Power International)

Trans Caledon Tunnel Authority

Nokia Solutions and Networks

Actom

Murray & Roberts

Ivanhoe Mines

Work highlights

  • Acted for the business rescue practitioners of Group Five in successfully opposing the government’s assertion that it is a creditor, and ongoing proceedings before the competition/antitrust authorities relating to historic allegations of anti-competitive conduct in the South African construction sector.
  • Represented Group Five in a number of disputes against Worley Parsons arising out of the Kpone Power Project in Ghana, including resisting liquidation and stay applications, and representing Group Five in arbitration proceedings regarding both its call on a performance guarantee and damages claims.

Bowmans

Bowmans has a well established front-end and contentious construction practice that has achieved significant market share in South Africa and across the continent. The firm has a healthy mix of infrastructure, energy, mining and transport-related engagements. The firm has impressed in a series of headline infrastructure projects in South Africa and beyond, including the Beitbridge Border Post modernisation PPP project in Zimbabwe. Andrew van Niekerk is a leader in front-end construction in South Africa and in other African jurisdictions. Tumisang Mongae is an experienced figure in contentious construction, while Stephanie McDonald is another key non-contentious specialist. Spencer Naicker departed for Russell McVeagh in New Zealand.

Practice head(s):

Andrew van Niekerk; Tumisang Mongae; Lize-Mere Ludick; Stephanie McDonald

Testimonials

‘The practice has capable depth and can ensure support at all times.’

‘Excellent knowledge of the construction field and industry-specific construction contracts. Availability and knowledge of professional staff, cost effective billing and value for money.’

‘Excellent knowledge, good working relationship, availability, always meets deadlines.’

‘Stephanie McDonald has broad experience with construction contracting globally, and has a pragmatic and easy-to-understand manner of dealing with clients and contractors.’

Key clients

Virtus Energy Solutions and Rensource Distributed Energy

Zimborders

ELB Engineering Services

Tenova Mining and Minerals

MSC Cruises

Tenova TAKRAF

Petredec

Work highlights

  • Advised Zimborders on the Beitbridge Border Post modernisation PPP project in Zimbabwe.
  • Advised MSC Cruises on relation to the Durban Cruise Terminal PPP awarded to MSC Cruses by the Transnet, the South African state owned company.
  • Advised ELB Engineering Services on all disputes related to the bulk earthworks and civil contracts and assisted in the application brought by the sub-contractor and counter-application, including preparing the necessary court process and representing the contractor in court, in co-operation with counsel.

Fasken

Fasken has a fine record in the contentious sphere, while a number of its projects and project finance partners are also experts in EPC and O&M contracts, particularly in the renewable energy sector. Nic Roodt and Tania Siciliano are prominent contentious specialists. Ashen Jugoo and Blaize Vance are experienced in EPC contracts.

Other key lawyers:

Nic Roodt; Tania Siciliano; Ashen Jugoo; Blaize Vance 

Tiefenthaler Attorneys

Tiefenthaler Attorneys is a highly-rated construction and engineering boutique, operating across Johannesburg and Cape Town offices. The team is active in South Africa engagements, but is a growing force in cross-border matters. The group is engaged in a series of headline and landmark disputes linked to major energy and infrastructure projects in South Africa. The team is better known for disputes though has extensive experience in front-end construction and engineering contracts. It has a fine record in delay and disruption-related disputes, including adjudications and arbitrations. Martin van der Schyf leads the team and has an outstanding reputation.

Practice head(s):

Martin van der Schyf

Other key lawyers:

Ryan du Preez; Paul Woodward; Deonn Fourie

Testimonials

‘This boutique construction law practice is my go to firm for all my construction/engineering law matters. No problem has ever been too complex for them to handle. All the partners are experts in the field of construction and there are always one of the partners available to assist me.’

‘Ryan du Preez is phenomenal. He thinks out of the box and his advice is usually spot on. He is always available to help and no task is ever too big or too small to have his full attention. In terms of knowledge in the field, he must be at the top of it.’

Adams & Adams

Adams & Adams is an emerging force in construction disputes, notably in relation to energy and infrastructure projects. It has an impressive client base of employers and contractors. Grégor Wolter is a dispute resolution specialist with a genuine track record in construction cases. He has considerable experience in mediation, litigation and arbitration.

Practice head(s):

Grégor Wolter

Key clients

City of Cape Town Metropolitan Municipality

Primat Construction (Pty) Ltd

Cadcon

Atterbury Property

Kharafi Holdings

Efkon South Africa

Lombardy Developments

AL Mphago Civil Construction

Work highlights

  • Acted for the City of Cape Town in a multi-million rand dispute for follow-on damages arising from collusion between three major construction firms for the construction of the Cape Town World Cup Stadium (for the 2010 Soccer World Cup).
  • Acted for Primat Construction in a roads construction dispute with the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality.
  • Acted for Cadcon, the specialised steel contractor, in a multi-jurisdictional dispute relating to the construction of a high value and much publicised paint shop in East London for a well-known German motor vehicle manufacturer.

Clyde & Co LLP

Clyde & Co LLP is a disputes oriented practice with notable expertise in cases across Africa. Much of its practice centres on Asian and European contractors. Respected contentious construction specialist Alon Meyerov leads the team.

Practice head(s):

Alon Meyerov