Firms To Watch: Construction

The construction team at Clarke Willmott LLP specialises in all aspects of development finance projects and regularly negotiates with contractors. Hayley Steel is the key contact in Southampton.
Headed up by senior associate Izabela Arnold, Lester Aldridge LLP‘s Southampton-based construction practice specialises in advising on residential developments and complex cladding issues.

Construction in South East

Blake Morgan LLP

Providing ‘measured, quality advice’, the Blake Morgan LLP construction group is highly regarded for representing private and public sector organisations in complex contentious proceedings and advising on high-value transactional work. The firm shows significant strength across the retail, real estate, and education industries, with the team frequently drawing upon expertise from its Oxford, London, Southampton, and Cardiff offices. Practice head Richard Wade has vast experience of advising on procurement strategies and drafting development agreements, while James Bessey specialises in handling large-scale construction disputes, both nationally and internationally. Southampton-based Edward McMullen routinely deals with building contracts. At the senior associate level, Simon Lewis is noted.

Practice head(s):

Richard Wade

Other key lawyers:

James Bessey; Edward McMullen; Simon Lewis; Gemma Hill


‘They offered up-to-date understanding. When issues or queries arose, they were quick to respond and offer their advice.’

‘The partner and his support team who dealt with us were always available and offered their best support when needed.’

‘Shrewd and experienced, giving measured, quality advice.’

Key clients

IWG / Regus

Sutton and East Surrey Water

Premier Inns/Whitbread

University College Oxford

Diamond Light Source Limited

St Edmund Hall Oxford

Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council

St John’s Winchester

Beard Construction

Oxford University Developments

Work highlights

  • Advising on the entire life cycle of construction issues across IWG’s extensive portfolio of serviced offices, including negotiating robust protections relating to work procured by landlords, structuring IWG’s fit-out arrangements, carrying out due diligence in the context of corporate transactions, and advising on liabilities for defective design and workmanship.
  • Represented Sutton & East Surrey Water in a dispute relating to the payment provisions under a £20m contract for filter replacement and upgrade of the water treatment works.
  • Provided Diamond Light Source with non-contentious support on a number of projects, including the replacement of the roof to the main Synchrotron building, the construction of two new technical manufacturing facilities, and a significant four-storey extension of the existing headquarters building at the Harwell research facility.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP

Counting international governments, major corporations, and contractors amongst its key clients, the Guilford-based Charles Russell Speechlys LLP construction team has in-depth expertise in advising on high-value engineering and construction contracts. The offering spans complex contentious matters, ranging from dispute avoidance to arbitration and litigation, with practice head David Savage bringing over 25 years’ experience in acting for employers, governments and consultants in cross-border construction disputes to the team. Chi Mount focuses on the construction aspects of property transactions and development financing.

Practice head(s):

David Savage

Other key lawyers:

Chi Mount


‘They have demonstrated remarkable adaptability and appreciation for the specifics of our dispute.’

‘David Savage has a keen sense for dispute analysis, strategy, and solid legal acumen in both oral and written delivery. His service response has been impressive.’

‘A strong team with depth and considerable knowledge.’

‘Individuals are polite and professional, advice provided is considered and sound.’

Key clients

Maldives Airport Company Limited (a 100% Maldives Government owned company)

Ministry of Transportation and Telecommunications, Government of Bahrain

Caring Homes Group

Eton College

Kate Bingham Interior Design

The Pirbright Institute

Marlborough College

Northvale Construction Limited

Church Commissioners for England

Bewley Homes Plc

Work highlights

  • Instructed by Maldives Airport Company on a three-year-term to provide contentious and non-contentious FIDIC-related construction law services in relation to the ongoing redevelopment project at Velena International Airport on Hulhulé Island in North Malé Atoll, Maldives.
  • Advising The Pirbright Institute on the redevelopment, procurement strategy generally, and drafting and negotiation of all construction documentation.
  • Handling contentious and non-contentious construction work on an ongoing basis for Aspire Luxury Properties, including acting for the client in recovering sums owed by a number of HNWIs.


Headed up by Nitej Davda, Cripps’ construction group specialises in handling mixed-use regeneration projects and complex infrastructure schemes for housebuilders, property investors, and government departments. The firm has particular expertise in assisting clients from the science research and development industries, boasting notable clients such as Cadogan and Kadans Science Partner in that space. Tunbridge Wells-based Davda is an expert in construction disputes, along with landlord and tenant claims. James Lee is the key contact on the non-contentious side, and regularly advises on construction contracts and development agreements.

Practice head(s):

Nitej Davda

Other key lawyers:

James Lee


‘Very responsive to client needs. Good knowledge of the law and very commercial in their approach.’

‘Nitej Davda – excellent client relationships, good knowledge of the law.’

Key clients


Harrow School

Federated Hermes (owner of thecentre:MK)

Kadans Science Partner

Kennedy Wilson

M&G Real Estate (formerly PRUPIM)

Peer Group

Redrow Homes

Runnymede Borough Council

South East Water

Tristan Capital Partners

Wates Construction

Work highlights

  • Instructed as main construction advisers on the development and maintenance of Harrow School’s 300-acre estate in Harrow-on-the-Hill.
  • Advising Cadogan on a range of construction projects across its London estate.
  • Instructed as main advisers to South East Water on its construction and engineering contracts relating to the repair, maintenance and upgrade of water treatment works, main pipes, reservoirs, boreholes, pipework, drainage systems and other infrastructure.


The Uxbridge-based IBB Law construction and engineering group demonstrates a ‘wealth of knowledge and experience’, regularly assisting clients with the drafting of development agreements, handling mixed use residential-led schemes, and acting in complex cladding claims. The team also has insurance expertise, often supporting major insurance companies with relevant disputes, as well as boasting a sizeable engineering sector presence. Paul Brampton leads the department, bringing vast experience of dealing with mechanical engineering procurement to the group, while senior associate Christopher Thompson counts contractors, architects, and engineers amongst his regular clients.

Practice head(s):

Paul Brampton

Other key lawyers:

Christopher Thompson; Steven Hayward


‘In my opinion and experience, what makes this practice unique is the lawyers with their wealth of knowledge and experience which resulted in giving not only good advice but practical at the same time.’

‘In my opinion, with the help and advice of Steven Hayward and Christopher Thompson we won our case in the High Court. Throughout the process we were guided and advised in our best interest.’

‘IBB Law have an excellent working knowledge of the NEC frameworks as they apply to major construction companies, but were also able to advise on the applicability of specific clauses to our organisation and the level of risk we might import if we did not challenge these.’

‘Paul Brampton was able to identify relevant issues very quickly and identify areas of risk and liability that we would not otherwise have identified. A key differentiating factor for me personally was the speed with which Paul was able to understand our business activities and tailor his scope of work accordingly. At each step, we were also given a clear breakdown of anticipated and actual time costs on a task-by-task basis.’

Key clients

Aviva Insurance


O’Halloran and O’Brien

Albany Group

Teenage Cancer Trust

A M Construction

Riverdale Developments Limited

Marson Property

EAB Homes

Frontier Estates

Work highlights

  • Advising a housebuilder on construction documentation for the building of a £140m high-rise mixed use residential-led scheme in central Birmingham, comprising 627 apartments and large areas of commercial space.
  • Acting for AM Construction in a technology and construction case.
  • Advising a commercial property owner on the £181m development of a new data centre in West London.

Sheridan Gold LLP

Operating out of Reigate, Sheridan Gold LLP is a boutique construction law firm with ‘real experience and quality’, instructed by national and international clients to provide support across the whole spectrum of contentious and non-contentious construction and engineering work. The team’s coverage spans a multitude of sectors, including leisure, transport, and education. Peter Sheridan and Jonathan Gold co-lead the group; the former is an expert in construction and engineering arbitration, while the latter shows a ‘very impressive knowledge of the law’ when drafting complex construction contract documentation. Jane Ryland is routinely instructed by local authorities, educational institutions, and charities.

Practice head(s):

Peter Sheridan; Jonathan Gold

Other key lawyers:

Jane Ryland


‘A partner-led firm with real experience and quality through the firm. They have the quality of a London practice but are able to provide value services at a more modest charge out rate – with no drop in quality of advice provided.’

‘Jonathan Gold is universally recognised as a sensible, commercial and experienced lawyer who is a pleasure to deal with.’

‘Quality of the advice received and the personable approach from the partners.’

‘Jonathan Gold and Peter Sheridan are, in my opinion, the best in their profession. Their level of knowledge and expertise is unmatched and their personable approach to their clients is very reassuring.’

‘We normally deal with the same solicitor which gives consistency in advice and hopefully means they start to understand our own business approach to certain situations.’

‘Jonathan Gold has worked with us for many years and knows our business. He is always willing to work with us and advise if he thinks we may be spending more money than it is worth trying to recover unpaid debts.’

‘A particular feature of Sheridan Gold is that the majority of the work is handled by the two partners, Peter Sheridan and Jonathan Gold. Clients can therefore be confident that they are getting very experienced experts in construction disputes handling their case.’

‘Jonathan Gold has a very impressive knowledge of the law. He is also adept at crafting this into persuasive, legal arguments for his client, including points or arguments which others may miss.’

Key clients


Apex Contractors

Ballast Nedam

Cappagh Browne

Chapel Down


Ferdinand Bilstein UK

Morcom Construction

Our Place

RY Construction

Stevens & Bolton LLP

Counting national and international entities from across the life sciences, education, and engineering spaces as its key clients, the Stevens & Bolton LLP team is well equipped to advise on complex new build projects and construction adjudication. The group is based in Guilford, with the head, Kimberley Eyssell, noted for her extensive experience of acting for all parties in the contractual chain and handling all elements of formal dispute resolutions. Stephen Rockhill focuses on drafting and negotiating building contracts, while Ben Willis provides ‘excellent advice’ to investors, developers, and office occupiers in relation to non-contentious matters. Senior associate Gwilym Evans is noted for his domestic arbitration work, and Claire Perry is knowledgeable on forms of alternative dispute resolution.

Practice head(s):

Kimberley Eyssell

Other key lawyers:

Stephen Rockhill; Ben Willis; Gwilym Evans; Claire Perry


‘We have worked with Ben Willis since 2021 and he is always available to spend the time to discuss any issues and to explain the various options so that we can make an informed decision. He has provided excellent advice.’

Key clients

Kia Motors (UK) Ltd

Eastleigh Borough Council

Gist Limited

VX Fiber Ltd

Maris Interiors LLP

CBRE Managed Services Ltd

Schneider (G.B) Limited

Institute of Cancer Research

Royal Albert Hall

Work highlights

  • Advised Frameless London on the fit-out of the landmark Marble Arch Place development, an immersive art gallery experience.
  • Advised a renewable energy company on a number of issues relating to energy performance contracts.
  • Advised a fit-out main contractor on several renovation contracts for central London projects.

BDB Pitmans

The BDB Pitmans construction team specialises heavily in disputes arising from large engineering projects, and complex contractual claims. The Reading-based department has close links with the firm’s real estate and insolvency teams, and consistently draws upon that expertise to advise on the gamut of relevant work. For non-contentious construction work, Tim Barwick is the key contact. David Gwillim leads on the contentious side, boasting 40 years’ experience of conducting arbitration and litigation proceedings within the construction and engineering industries.

Practice head(s):

Tim Barwick; David Gwillim


‘David Gwillim is experienced, pragmatic and efficient. He is adept at managing large teams of lawyers, witnesses and experts. On top of that, he is a gentleman and a pleasure to work with.’

Key clients

MTD Contractors Limited

ProTar Surfacing Limited

Priory Assets Management LLP

Clarkslegal LLP

The Reading-based Clarkslegal LLP construction team has a long-established reputation for advising on major construction and development projects, and has recently demonstrated considerable growth in the contentious arena. Practice head Stephen James gives ‘excellent and practical advice’ during dispute resolution proceedings, defending clients in arbitration and Part 7 and 8 litigation claims. ‘Master tactician’ Antony Morris brings vast expertise in engineering and professional negligence disputes, as well as health and safety issues, to the team.

Practice head(s):

Stephen James

Other key lawyers:

Antony Morris


‘The construction team has a strong partner makeup, which means that any matter or dispute receives attention and handling from senior practitioners who have been working in the field for many years. Each of them is highly experienced and knows the subject matter inside-out.’

‘The geographic spread of the firm is nicely balanced. They are well set up, in terms of offices, infrastructure and technology, to make it work seamlessly. I am not aware of a firm in the Thames Valley region that matches them in experience, attention to clients or complexity of work.’

‘Stephen James is extremely knowledgeable about construction, and consistently gives excellent and practical advice. He has a well-developed following of developer and contractor clients, who like his approachability.’

‘Antony Morris is a master tactician. He has practised in litigation for very many years, and is brilliant at setting the direction of the case from the outset, and navigating it through to a conclusion.’

‘Responsive, perceptive, experienced, strategic, good managers of the process.’

‘They are persistent at achieving a good result.’

‘The advice is well thought out.’

‘Readily available and precise with their advice.’

Key clients

Lumen Technologies UK Limited

Future Tech SCI Limited

Really Local Group

Glenman Corporation Limited

Frencon Construction Limited

Area Sq Limited

Mackin Construction Limited

Stanton Williams Limited

Allenbuild Limited

BSW Building Services Limited

Westford Mechanical Limited

NCS Plumbing and Heating Services Limited

Fourfront Group Limited

High Firs Penthouses Limited

i-Transport Limited

Crown Packaging UK Plc

Work highlights

  • Advising Really Local Developments, part of London-based regeneration specialist Really Local Group, on a project to transform a 14,000 square foot space in Reading’s Broad Street Mall into an independent four-screen cinema, refreshments, music and events centre.
  • Assisting Stanton Williams on an ongoing basis, including advising on over 100 different recent projects.
  • Assisting Crown Packaging UK, part of the Eviosys Group, which has manufacturing facilities across 17 countries in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, with various construction and property-related matters nationally, including assisting with the acquisition of a £57m development site.


Counting large contractors, developers, and HNWIs amongst its client base, the Palmers construction and engineering practice is recommended for its handling of matters ranging from adjudications and arbitrations, to contract drafting. The group regularly advises developers on collateral warranties and development projects, with ‘consummate professional’ Adam Davis leading the Rayleigh-based team. Davis has vast expertise handling LAD claims and payment disputes, while recently promoted senior associate Layna Thompson supports private individuals, sub-contractors, and main contractors with all areas of construction law. Maisie Yau is experienced in landlord and tenant work, as well as property refinancing matters.

Practice head(s):

Adam Davis

Other key lawyers:

Layna Thompson; Maisie Yau


‘Adam Davis is an excellent lawyer, incredibly hard working and a pleasure to work with. He is a specialist in this area and a real asset to the firm. In terms of what makes the firm unique, having Adam Davis means that clients can get the same quality of service as they might expect from a specialist City construction firm, without paying City prices.’

‘Kept up to date on progress, and always have direct access to the solicitor dealing with the case rather than having to go through a switchboard.’

‘Knowledge of the relevant case law and ability to link it very easily to the cases we have running at any one time.’

Key clients

LFF Glamal Limited

LFF (Scotland) Limited

The Lady Eleanor Holles School Limited

City Lifting Limited

Vertical Transportation Limited

Ryan and Walsh Limited

Eden Facades Limited

TPS Interiors Limited

Emerson Crane Hire Limited

EEStairs (UK) Limited

Arti Structural Waterproofing Limited

TMT Steel Limited

J B Building Essex Limited

Grangewood Group

Redbrooks Specialist Design and Build Limited

Thomson Snell & Passmore

The team at Thomson Snell & Passmore demonstrates a ‘high level of competence’ in advising clients on construction and engineering contract matters, and also regularly handles complex adjudication enforcement proceedings. The firm covers industries ranging from metal refining to food production, with practice head Chris Whittington regularly advising employers, funders, and contractors on all aspects of construction law. Chris Kirby-Turner ‘really goes the extra mile’, handling all forms of alternative dispute resolution and professional negligence claims from the Thames Gateway office.

Practice head(s):

Chris Whittington

Other key lawyers:

Chris Kirby-Turner


‘Chris Kirby-Turner really goes the extra mile for his clients. He has a great eye for detail and leaves no stones unturned.’

‘TSP has a reputation for taking on some of the most technically challenging construction and engineering cases in the South East. It has deep client relationships with a large number of developers and contractors.’

‘Chris Kirby-Turner is a real star. He is tenacious in his efforts for clients. A deep thinker who really focuses on the detail.’

Key clients

OFP Timber Framed Homes Ltd

Nicholas James Care Homes Ltd

Avenue Building Company Ltd

Royal British Legion Industries Ltd

North Kent College

Chatham Maritime Trust

Ferns Group

Work highlights

  • Acted for a developer in obtaining a freezing injunction.
  • Advising a developer on the first phase of a multi-million pound conversion of a listed South East building into mixed use.
  • Assisted a major housing association with the negotiation of terms on which a financially vulnerable contractor would hand back the project at an agreed stage in the works with final payments to the contractor being subject to the fulfilment of various conditions precedent.

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

Operating out of Southampton, Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP’s construction and engineering team has extensive expertise in handling contentious and non-contentious work for national and international entities. The group is well regarded for acting in high-value contractual and negligence disputes, with Jessica Tresham, who heads up the South Coast team, specialising in dealing with claims at the intersection of technology and construction, as well as regularly handling arbitrations and adjudications. Newcastle-based Simon Rowland oversees the national department. Managing associate Amy Hodge routinely advises banks, developers, and local authorities on all aspects of non-contentious construction work. At associate level, Luke Betteridge is noted.

Practice head(s):

Jessica Tresham; Simon Rowland

Other key lawyers:

Amy Hodge; Luke Betteridge; Lenny Dalby

Key clients

B&Q Limited

The Church Commissioners for England

The University of Portsmouth Higher Education Corporation

Garmin (Europe) Limited

Hutchison 3G UK Limited

New Look Retailers Limited

The Original Bowling Company Limited

The University of Plymouth

UPS SCS (UK) Limited

Bellcross Limited

Work highlights

  • Appointed by The Church Commissioners for England to provide all legal services in connection with a programme of extensive maintenance, repair and alteration works due to be carried out at Lambeth Palace.
  • Representing Bellcross in a claim for alleged defective workmanship at a development it constructed for Grand Union Housing.
  • Instructed to procure construction security in favour of Garmin (Europe) in relation to the design and construction of a building.

Birkett Long LLP

The Birkett Long LLP construction group is ‘extremely helpful and knowledgeable’, representing clients from across the sustainability, hospitality, and property spheres in complex adjudication claims as well as advising on non-contentious matters. Based in Chelmsford, Peter Allen and senior associate Suryen Nullatamby co-head the team, with the former offering in-depth experience in advising on breaches of contract, professional negligence, and public procurement issues, while the latter focuses on arbitration, litigation, and contract repudiation.

Practice head(s):

Peter Allen; Suryen Nullatamby


‘Extremely helpful and knowledgeable, and they give the best advice on a broad range of issues.’

‘Peter Allen is our “go-to” for all contractual negotiations. Peter continuously provides us with excellent and timely advice, his experience and knowledge is of the highest quality and we are certain that he is always looking after the best interests of our business and our team.’

‘Peter Allen acts as a trusted adviser as well as a lawyer. He has good strategic sense and gets his clients results, whether that means a good settlement or fighting the case all the way. His case analysis is excellent.’


Instructed by clients working on major developments across the commercial, retail, rail, and development finance industries, the Milton Keynes-based Dentons construction team is ‘swift to respond’ regarding all aspects of non-contentious matters. The group has vast expertise in drafting and negotiating engineering and design contracts, with practice head Mark Macaulay bringing 30 years’ experience of advising national and international companies on cross-border infrastructure and development projects to the team. Counsel Shaun Tame regularly supports funders and developers with construction procurement and contracts issues, while counsel Tasmyn Brittlebank focuses primarily on financing and the letting of buildings.

Practice head(s):

Mark Macaulay

Other key lawyers:

Shaun Tame; Tasmyn Brittlebank


‘Swift to respond, commercial and user friendly – a rare combination.’

‘The whole team are a pleasure to deal with and understand our needs and parameters within which we work.’

Key clients

Life Science REIT

Sports Direct


Taylor Wimpey

Kier Property Developments Limited

International Distributions Services plc, trading as Royal Mail

Marks and Spencer Plc

OB Capital Limited

John Lewis

Sainsbury’s Supermarkets PLC


Work highlights

  • Advising John Lewis Partnership on its new build-to-rent schemes.
  • Advising on Life Science REIT’s acquisition of Oxford Technology Park £180m by way of a share purchase and entry into a development and funding agreement.
  • Advising HOOPP/Verdion on all aspects of the £400m multi-phase and multi-tenanted rail and freight logistics development project on 337 acres of greenfield land in Doncaster.

Holmes & Hills

The Holmes & Hills construction division routinely handles the gamut of contentious and non-contentious matters, with particular strength in construction adjudication claims. Practice head Sam Bawden, singled out by one client as a ‘skilful and accomplished lawyer’, is noted for his experience of negotiating settlements in high-value disputes and court cases. Associate Lawrence Pearce regularly acts for both main contractors and contract managers.

Practice head(s):

Sam Bawden

Other key lawyers:

Lawrence Pearce


‘The construction team at Holmes and Hills has gone from strength to strength during our partnership with them. Payment and contractual disputes are one of our members’ biggest issues, and the team have been able to provide a wealth of knowledge. Their support is invaluable to us.’

‘Sam Bawden and Lawrence Pearce as individuals are the main reason we continue to partner with Holmes and Hills. They are forward thinking and proactive. They provide continued support to us to ensure that our members remain well informed and well represented.’

‘We have been very impressed with Holmes & Hills. Their construction – scaffold division is exemplary and has guided us to securing a number of arbitration wins over the last two years. Plus their ongoing legal guidance has been excellent on general contract and payment issues.’

‘We primarily work with Lawrence Pearce – he is responsive, knowledgeable and fast paced in the work he undertakes for us. He is a credit to his firm.’

‘Friendly, welcoming and professional with a high level of expertise.’

‘Sam Bawden: friendly and professional; nothing is too much trouble; very client focused with all the right skills and credentials to get the job done.’

‘Working with Sam Bawden we have, so far, always been successful. This is because Sam is a skilful and accomplished lawyer with excellent strategic vision which he uses to guide and develop his growing team of construction lawyers. Exceptional service.’

‘Lawrence Pearce provides good sound advice.’

Key clients

CFE Installations

JTL Scaffolding

National Association of Shopfitters

ScaffTeq Limited

Work highlights

  • Successfully acted for a large number of scaffolding companies in making adjudication claims for wrongful termination, repudiatory breaches and validity of notices.
  • Advising Scaffteq West on the Strachan and Henshaw building in Bristol.
  • Assisting JTL Scaffolding with a review and re-draft of existing terms and conditions, as well as providing training on the fundamentals of construction law.