CONSTRUCTION AND ENGINEERING
Entering into any significant commercial agreements without formal contracts represents a serious risk. Nowhere is this truer than in construction and engineering projects which are high in cost and complexity.
The documents are crucial as they are intended to set out the respective obligations of the parties and how risks will be shared or divided, in effect, they regulate the entirety of the commercial and working relationship between the parties.
Because of the complex nature of the responsibilities and the high risks of technical and practical problems arising, a well-written contract for construction projects is pivotal. It will anticipate and address issues that might typically arise in construction, and provide a framework to enable the parties to deal with the problem, and enable works to progress without delay. This is especially important in cases of large projects where there are many layers of responsibilities, from the main contractor at the top all the way down to the smallest of small sub-sub contractors.
With well-crafted contracts in place, disputes can be managed as parameters have been considered and clearly defined. The scope for disputes is reduced because you do not have to debate and argue about what had or had not been agreed by reference to historical discussions which took place some time ago and probably over an extended period. It is only human nature that in these situations, the parties in a dispute will have selective memory.
Properly drafted contracts are also instrumental and of utmost importance because they provide the legal and commercial certainty to enable the deals and funding arrangements that have been negotiated and agreed, to be implemented. We would look at any third parties involved, be they sub-contractors, funders, purchasers or tenants and we assess the risks involved, to ensure that we produce the necessary contracts taking into account all material considerations. This may typically involve documentation ranging from building contracts, professional appointments, collateral warranties, bank and surety bonds, to guarantees and insurance analysis.
The team’s primary role is to provide specialist expertise in construction and engineering but we frequently operate as part of a larger Commercial Services team, with the Disputes, Property and Corporate lawyers providing support to each other according to client’s needs, budgets and objectives. Our services include:
- Bespoke Contracts
- Building contracts – terms and conditions
- Collateral warranties or third party rights – terms and conditions
- Construction aspects of development, lease and funding agreements
- Engineering, Procurement and Construction (“EPC”) Contracts
- Insurance advice
- Performance security (bonds/guarantees) – terms and conditions
- Professional appointments – terms and conditions
- Use of industry standard forms – JCT, NEC, FIDIC, ICE, MF/1, ACE, RICS, RIBA etc.
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