Construction & Engineering

Our leading Construction and Engineering Team work on projects across the UK. We understand the pressures our clients operate under in the construction industry. We strive to provide clear, practical and innovative commercial advice and solutions to both private and public sector clients on all types of projects and construction related matters, whether in relation to large scale projects or disputes involving factual and complex contractual issues or minor works. Our experience ranges from advising on the design, construction and commissioning of solar farms to multi-million pound construction disputes. Our clients include a broad cross-section of major developers, leading contractors and consultants, and public bodies.

We have particular expertise on projects across commercial, residential, health, educational, recreational and energy sectors and the team has a wide appreciation and understanding of issues that frequently arise on construction projects and disputes from the viewpoints of all parties typically involved.


  • Construction dispute avoidance and resolution
  • Adjudication, Mediation and Arbitration
  • Representation in the Technology and Construction Court (TCC)
  • EPC and other construction contracts
  • Professional Negligence

Relevant work

  • Acting for a utility company on a multi-million pound three party dispute arising from horizontal directional drilling leading to claims for loss and expense due to ground conditions. 
  • Acting for main contractor on an energy project: woodchip Combined Heat & Power, advising on contract documents and supply of plant from abroad.
  • Acting for a marine cable installation contractor and advising in relation to disputed variations under a FIDIC Yellow Book contract for termination and testing of 18 kilometres of core submarine cables in relation to an offshore wind farm.
  • Acting for a European contractor on issues arising under a consortium agreement relating to the construction of a power station in Bulgaria, Bulgaria's largest inward investment project to date.
  • Advising contractor on the mechanical and electrical works contract for the 2012 London Olympics Athletes Village.
  • Acting for an EPC Contractor drafting and negotiating an EPC Contract and associated documents relating to the design, construction and commissioning of a 90MWp solar farm.


Anti Oral variation clauses - not as they appear

After recent judgments on the topic, the Court of Appeal has confirmed that clauses stating that the terms of a contract can only be varied in writing (typically known as "anti-oral variations clauses") do not do exactly as they say on the tin:- contracts which include such a clause can in fact be varied orally.

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BIM Level 2 goes live

As of 4 April 2016, all centrally procured public sector construction contracts are required to incorporate Building Information Modelling ("BIM").

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The Lifeblood of International Commerce?

Various forms of security are often sought by employers particularly in the construction industry. Predominantly, at contract stage employers call for Parent Company Guarantees and/or bonds.

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Dispute resolution: the importance of Dispute Adjudication Boards

A number of court judgments from a variety of jurisdictions expect parties to exhaust all dispute resolution procedures available to them before using the courts, and then only "when all else fails".

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The End of CDM Co-ordinators

The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 ('the Regulations') came into force on 6 April 2015 and replaced the previous 2007 regulations. In summary, the Regulations define legal duties for the safe operation of construction sites in the UK.

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Cash Retention Abuse

In the aftermath of the recession, cash retention abuse has been a hotly debated topic in the construction industry. With insolvency affecting a significant number of contractors and employers, retention monies have often been used to pay the latter's creditors, as opposed to their contractors and sub-contractors.

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New CJC guidance on instructing experts takes effect

The Civil Justice Council's ("CJC") guidance on the instruction of experts in civil claims (the "Guidance") formally came into effect on 1 December 2014. The Guidance replaces the CJC Protocol for the Instruction of Experts (the "Protocol"), which was annexed to Practice Direction 35 of the Civil Procedure Rules.

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High Court ruling highlights limits on third party rights to adjudicate

In the recent case of Hurley Palmer Flatt Ltd v Barclays Bank plc [2014] EWHC 3042 (TCC), the Technology and Construction Court held that a third party was not entitled to adjudicate a dispute which had arisen under a professional appointment. On the facts, there was no right under the contract itself, nor a right under the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999 (the "Third Party Rights Act"), for the third party to commence adjudication proceedings.

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Third Parties (Rights against Insurers) Act 2010 coming into force - update

The long awaited Third Parties (Rights against Insurers) Act 2010 ("the Act") will finally come into force on 1 August 2016.

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JCT Minor Works 2016 - Key Changes

The JCT 2016 Edition has officially launched with the release of the Minor Works family of contracts on 15 June 2016.

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BIM Level 2 Mandate now in effect

After half a decade of Government support for Building Information Modelling, one of the key milestones in the adoption of BIM has finally been reached.

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A Last Refuge for "Smash and Grab" Adjudications?

On the 1 December 2015, the Court of Appeal decided the case of Harding (t/a MJ Harding Contractors) v Paice [2015] EWCA Civ 1231. This decision suggests that there may be a last refuge for payers (typically Employers or Main Contractors) when faced with a smash and grab adjudication.

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Varying Payment Terms by Conduct

The recent case of Leeds City Council v Waco UK Limited [2015] EWHC 1400 (the "Waco Case") serves as a warning to many construction clients to be wary of accepting late applications for payment from contractors, or they could be held to have varied the contractual payment terms by their conduct.

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Settlement agreements: the need for caution and care

There can be many good reasons for reaching a settlement agreement when faced with the prospect of trial. Escalating legal costs and the uncertainty of the outcome are often two important factors. Indeed, the vast majority of commercial disputes, including those in the construction industry, are resolved this way.

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Not as might first appear: what constitutes a "Construction Contract" under the Construction Act?

The Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996 as amended (the "Construction Act") imposes specific payment provisions and dispute resolution processes into construction contracts, including the option to adjudicate. In many cases it is clear whether a contract is a "construction contract" for the purposes of the Construction Act. However, in others, it is not so clear cut. In a recent case, two parties spent in the region of £400,000 in legal fees finding out.

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BIM - The Good the Bad and the Law

The 2016 central government target, requiring level 2 BIM to be employed for its projects has generated much trade discussion.

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Blake Patrick 184

Partner and Head of Construction Team
+44 (0)1392 333884

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