International full-service team covering all aspects of construction law
Our construction team advises on procurement, risk management and disputes for a wide range of clients, including contractors, owners, consultants and insurers. The team's main focus is large international projects, in particular infrastructure and energy.
Our integrated team is based around four core hubs - London, Australia, Hong Kong and the Middle East – although we are able to resource projects from any of HFW's international offices.
The group is led by Michael Sergeant who is based in London and the leaders of the four international hubs are as follows:
- London: Max Wieliczko
- Australia: Alex McKellar
- Hong Kong: Martin Downey
- Middle East: James Plant
Our team is highly ranked by the independent directories that review the legal market. Recent client quotes from the directories reflect our market leading position:
"HFW are my go-to law firm when I have a complex legal dispute. Their ability to think outside the box and quickly attend meetings is crucial to facilitate a strategy and scenario options enabling, where possible, the timely and appropriate resolution of the dispute." (Legal 500 2023)
"The HFW team includes very seasoned and experienced counsel, as well as young but very bright associates." (Legal 500 2023)
"...their lawyers combine legal skills, proactiveness and the ability to take a practical approach, which is very valuable." (Chambers UK 2022)
What we do in Construction
Our work can be divided into three core areas:
Procurement: We advise on all aspects of drafting and negotiating construction contracts and other related project agreements.
Live project advice: Advising our clients during the course of a project, including contract procedures (such as notices) and the preparation and defence of claims.
Dispute resolution: Our work ranges from specific targeted advice on limited points to providing an entire team to develop and run a major claim. We advise on all the usual types of disputes, such as delay, disruption, variations, defects and termination. We also have experience of the main forms of dispute procedure, including arbitration, adjudication, DAB and court proceedings.
Our experience in Construction
Our experience spans the whole range of major projects and the list below is representative of the type of work we undertake. We can, on request, provide more in-depth information as to our experience in any particular area of work.
- Rail. We have advised on a variety of rail, metro and tram projects around the globe. Recent experience includes procurement advice in relation to a £750 million European rail electrification project, as well as metro schemes in the Middle East and MTRC projects in Hong Kong.
- Bridges. We have acted for clients in relation to a number of long-span bridge projects throughout the world, including in India, Hong Kong and Brunei. We have recently been involved in acting for a contractor on a US$200 million arbitration in relation to a high profile project.
- Tunnelling. We have advised clients on procurement issues and disputes in relation to a number of tunnelling projects in both Europe and South East Asia, including claims associated with unforeseen ground conditions, major tunnel collapses and TBM procurement.
- Roads. We have advised on the construction of a number of substantial road projects in various parts of the world, including Europe, West Africa, the Middle East and Asia. We recently acted on a Gulf State project where the claims were in excess of US$300 million.
- Oil and gas. Our work in this sector includes recent procurement advice in relation to a US$2 billion floating LNG production facility and a large delay and disruption dispute concerning the construction of a FPSU.
- Power plants. We have extensive global experience of advising on both procurement and disputes in connection with a variety of power plant projects. For example, we acted for an EPC contractor working on a combined cycle power plant in Oman where a US$60 million claim was brought in an ICC arbitration.
- Offshore wind farms. We have advised in relation to over half the wind farms constructed off the shores of the UK, including the world's largest offshore wind project. This work has included both contract negotiation and high value disputes.
- Hydroelectric schemes. We recently acted for a contractor in relation to a £200 million dispute concerning a failure at a major hydroelectric scheme.
- Nuclear. We recently acted for a major EPC contractor, advising on the turnkey contracts for the construction of a 1,200MW reactor in Europe.
- Industrial and process plant. Our work includes acting for both owners and contractors in relation to a wide range of industrial plant such as gas production facilities, crushing plants and food manufacturing facilities.
- Water facilities. Our work has involved desalination and water treatment plants in the Middle East, the Philippines, Hong Kong and Europe. For example, we recently advised on a major unforeseen ground conditions claim concerning the construction of a water treatment plant in Manila.
- Airports. We have acted in relation to the construction and maintenance of a number of airport and aerodrome facilities, including major development projects in the UK, Hong Kong and Africa.
- Ports and terminals. As one of the world's leading shipping law firms, HFW acts for many port operators. We have one of the largest teams specialising in the development and operation of national and international ports and terminals.
- Dredging and land reclamation. The firm has not only acted for clients undertaking dredging as part of port development work, but has also worked on land reclamation schemes including a number of high profile projects in the Middle East as part of high end residential developments.
- City developments. We recently acted for a major international contractor on a multi-billion Middle East project involving the construction of a small town, designed to house approximately 20,000 people.
- Sports facilities. We have acted for clients in relation to a number of high profile sports stadia and facilities. For example, we advised at the procurement stage in relation to one of the largest of the London 2012 Olympics projects.
- Iconic and historic buildings. We have worked on a number of high profile design-led developments, such as museum projects and the refurbishment of historic buildings.
- Retail and leisure. We have acted on a number of large development projects. For example, we recently advised on a major new leisure development in eastern Europe with a US$1 billion project value.
- Hospitals. The team has acted in relation to the construction of a range of medical facilities, for both contractors and hospital authorities. For example, we acted for an employer in relation to disputes concerning defects in the construction of a 1000 bed general hospital in the UK.
- Office developments. Our experience involves not only major one-off projects, but also advising major corporate occupiers on their suites of construction contracts for the procurement of development and refurbishment work for their international office portfolios.