Construction | Experience

We prepare and advise on the contractual documentation for construction projects and deal with disputes arising in this sector.

Group contact

Cathrine Ripley

Cathrine Ripley group contact

Recent work undertaken by the group includes:

Offices

  • Acting for the Sackville Group of companies in relation to a 30-acre greenfield site close to the M40 at Warwick since it was acquired in late 2005.  We have recently been instructed in relation to the latest phase of the development which involves the design and construction of a new office and industrial warehouse property of approximately 14,400 sq ft.  We are presently advising on the appointment of the professional team, to be followed by work on the Schedule of JCT Amendments to be included in the tender documentation.
  • Acting for a client specialising in strategic development in a variety of sectors (environment, flood and water management, maritime and coasts, and energy) when it commissioned the construction of new premises on its site in Wallingford which have become the headquarters of the Environment Agency.  The project was featured in the press on account of its green credentials and BREEAM Excellent rating.  The client subsequently commissioned the construction of a second "mirror" building on the same site as its new HQ and we were once again instructed to handle all the contractual documentation.
  • Acting for an American corporation on the acquisition and refurbishment of its UK headquarters and in relation to the redesign/redevelopment of inspirational mixed-use office and conference facilities in Oxford for use by our client and the local academic community.

Residential

  • Acting for a private trust which owns a large amount of land in the Pangbourne area.  Recent instructions have included the redevelopment of a listed building to create self-contained flats and a mews house and the demolition of commercial units and reconstruction of new buildings and a new access road as the first phase of a wider development.  In both cases we drafted the Schedule of JCT Amendments.  In the first project particular care was required in relation to the way responsibility for VAT was covered by the contract given the building’s listed status.
  • Advising several banking clients in relation to property matters, a recent example involving a residential project in Padstow, Cornwall where the Bank was acting as principal funder.  The project required particularly complex documentation on account of the involvement of other funders to the project and involved considerable renegotiation as the identity of the other funders changed.

Industrial

  • Acting for a national distributor of car parts, reviewing and advising on the construction documentation relating to warehouses acquired throughout the UK (existing buildings and new build projects), and liaising in considerable detail with the client's in-house surveyor throughout.  The work often involves negotiating the terms of collateral warranties or the terms on which existing warranties will  be assigned to our client, usually within very short timescales.

Leisure

  • Advising a property developer client in relation to the redevelopment of a hotel site in Woolacombe to be achieved through a joint venture arrangement with the current owner/operator of the hotel and the design and construction of a substantial residential property in a prestigious part of Epsom.  As well as advising the client in relation to a wide range of traditional construction issues (in particular professional appointments but also the building contract for the Epsom project), we also prepared and negotiated the terms of the highly individual development agreements.

Education

  • Advising a local further education college on the £8 million second phase of a project for the construction of various teaching buildings.  We were also instructed by a university college in relation to two multi-million pound projects, one being a major refurbishment of an existing 1960s building and the other being the construction of a new media centre.  We worked closely with the project managers in relation to various legal issues arising from the public procurement process as well as advising on the appointments of the professional team.
  • Handling the legal work relating to the construction of the John Madejski Academy in Reading, acting for the project's private sponsor but also working closely with what was DfES.  Linked to this, we also advised on the major refurbishment of the South Reading Leisure Centre to be leased and managed by the Academy.  The work included negotiation of the terms of the PPC 2000 partnering agreement and associated collateral warranties as well as the management agreement with Reading Borough Council.

Disputes

  • Acting for one of the construction companies fined for alleged bid rigging to fix prices on government or public procurement contracts.  In excess of 100 companies were implicated altogether, following a lengthy and costly OFT investigation which attracted significant press interest.  Our client was fined £100,000 but successfully appealed on liability and quantum (being one of only 6 to appeal on liability and one of 25 to appeal on quantum).
  • Acting for a major software manufacturer in a substantial dispute concerning the construction and fitting out of its headquarters.  Arbitration proceedings eventually culminated in a successful settlement.  As the dispute involved multiple parties there were many issues involved in the case including electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, structural engineering, etc.  The case involved a lengthy Scott Schedule, a very substantial amount of documentation to be disclosed and numerous detailed witness statements.