Construction agreements

  • In the development of commercial and public projects we have negotiated the various agreements needed. In the construction of hospitals and doctors' surgeries for the NHS we have drafted the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) service, development, project, and lease agreements, building contracts and professional appointments.
  • For the funding construction projects we advised the NHS on the procurement for an NHS temporary cancer treatment building and advised on loan arrangements and banking agreements. We negotiated letters of credit. On this project we also advised on the construction contracts. Here the radiation shielding around the linear accelerators (to radiate cancer cells) uses an innovative construction method of modular steel instead of the traditional 450mm thick concrete, reducing onsite construction time from 18 months to little more than 50 days, and it is transportable!
  • We have lectured on the asbestos regulations and health and safety, and advised sites on the application of the regulations.
  • Major developments require well structured contracts. We negotiated funding and partnering agreements, building contracts (mostly JCT), collateral warranties and professional appointments for a major developer for developments in the Basingstoke centre and various office developments in Mayfair and Victoria.
  • Smaller sites can pose interesting problems. We planned the procurement for remediation of contaminated land where a petrol station had been located on the site and heavy metals had leaked from the underground fuel tanks. These had formed a plume within the soil that had drifted under the site within the groundwater.
  • We have reported to underwriters on the construction risk for the Channel Tunnel Rail Link contracts.
  • Construction disputes

  • On private developments we have advised on the impact of the Architect's Instructions, including practical completion and Completion Date of the JCT contract. We also advised on the contractor's compliance with the contract specification and possible contract termination. All contracts have a completion date and perhaps delays have incurred costs. Critical path analysis may play a role and we have advised on this too.
  • We conducted adjudications and prepared for litigation on an NHS ProCure21 (NEC) contract. The ProCure21 is a framework agreement with six Supply Chains (PSCPs) selected via an OJEU Tender process. The dispute based upon the letter of intent to the NEC form of contract. Here we instructed counsel.
  • We advised on the contractual framework agreement and technical problems for two new NHS hospitals in eastern England. Floor screeds were found to have high moisture content. Tests verified that moisture was sealed into the screed. Also instructed counsel on whether the previous acceptance by the Primary Care Trust (PCT) of a Schedule of Derogations within the Contractor's Proposals for the Works meant that the PCT has lost the ability to complain about the design of the facility and/or whether the PCT could rely upon the Lease Plus Agreement in order to pursue a claim for defective design of the facility.
  • In a strange case of a nursery for a local authority some rammed earth walls as constructed had serious faults which included poor compaction, contamination, formwork movement, extensive distortion during drying and severe rain damage. An expert decided they had to be removed and replaced with some other form of masonry. We advised on the project team to complete and manage the new works and the basis for liability and conducted negotiations with the design team and the main contractor on the dispute for the reconstruction costs. We also advised on adjudication, the appointment of an expert witness, and jointly instructed counsel.
  • Sadly accidents do occur on building sites. We advised on the liability for a death on site. The client developer had not correctly maintained the statutory health and safety requirements. Here we advised on corporate manslaughter and the client's exposure to this liability.
  • Civil engineering work in the ground can close problems. We reported on a possible claim under ICE 5th Conditions of Contract for a tunnel in Norwich for unforeseen ground conditions.
  • We reviewed the contract to build Canary Wharf Underground Station and considered the independent expert's report on the design for suitability. The problem lay in the connectivity between the diaphragm wall and the oversite base slab.
  • We successfully defended an architect accused of negligent design where the fault lay with the client's insistence for a particular lighting and heating system.