Fortfield & Brown are recognised experts in the fields of construction law, training and dispute resolution. We pride ourselves on providing a high quality legal service which is pragmatic and commercially focused.
Construction law is the core of our business. We regularly act for a wide range of clients from large public sector organisations to small subcontractors. Our key practice areas are set out below.
We review construction contracts, collateral warranties and parent company guarantees to determine where the operational and commercial risks lie. If required, we can also suggest “push back” wording that can be used during contract negotiations.
In terms of output, we provide our clients with a “Red Amber Green with comments” review in an editable excel format. This document highlights key risks and enables our clients to price contractual risks accordingly, and to tailor their operational procedures as required.
We regularly draft main contracts, subcontracts, consultancy appointments, collateral warranties and parent company guarantees. We draft our contracts based on standard forms of contract (NEC, JCT, FIDIC, RIAI or Public Works) or using our own bespoke wording, depending on the needs of our client. We are often instructed by contractors, subcontractors and consultants to draft “drop down” subcontracts to pass risk down their supply chains. We often carry out this service in conjunction with carrying out a risk review of the main contract documents.
We provide contractual advice to main contractors, subcontractors, consultants and client organisations. With our expert knowledge of construction contracts, including NEC, JCT, FIDIC, RIAI and Public Works, we are able to quickly and efficiently advise our clients on the common contractual issues which arise during project delivery. In our experience, five minutes of advice at the right time is worth more than ten hours of advice at the wrong time. On this basis we typically respond to urgent queries within 24 hours of our instructions.
Making & Defending Contractual Claims
Our staff are vastly experienced in the various types of claim which arise under construction contracts, including:
- Loss and/or expense
- Claims for extension of time
- Compensation events
- Defect rectification
- Retention release
- Repudiation / termination
We are regularly instructed to make / defend claims by making submissions on contractual entitlement and by advising on the records required to prove / disprove claims.
We are experts in the legislation which governs payment in the construction industry, including:
- In England, Scotland & Wales – The Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996 (as amended)
- In Northern Ireland – The Construction Contracts (NI) Order 1997 (as amended)
- In Ireland – The Construction Contracts Act 2013
We use our knowledge of the legislation along with our dispute experience to ensure that payment issues are resolved quickly .
Construction contracts procured by the public sector are governed by special statutory rules, specifically:
- In the UK – The Public Contracts Regulations 2015 (as amended).
- In Ireland – The EU (Award of Public Authority Contracts) Regulations 2016 and the Capital Works Management Framework.
We advise the public and private sectors on their obligations under the statutory rules above. This includes procurement strategy and challenges.
We work closely with our existing clients and industry bodies to understand the practical contractual issues which arise during a construction project . We then use this knowledge to develop market-leading training courses to help others navigate these pitfalls and to help organisations enhance their commercial recovery.
We are experts in the delivery of training on all UK and Irish standard forms of contract, including:
These courses are designed for individuals who wish to upskill themselves in managing and administering construction contracts.
These courses are designed for larger companies who need their teams brought up to speed on a specific contract or project
These courses are designed for anyone who wishes to learn in their own time. Our dedicated e-learning platform is highly interactive and is custom built with construction professionals in mind.
We specialise in representing parties in adjudication, mediation and conciliation. Due to the fact that our staff are dual qualified construction and legal professionals, we have the ability to advise clients on both the technical and legal elements of their dispute.
Adjudication is a 28-day dispute resolution process which enables parties to obtain a temporarily binding decision from a third party adjudicator on disputes arising under construction contracts.
We frequently represent parties in the adjudication process. We help them gather the required evidence to prove their claims, we draft the legal arguments and we run the process on their behalf. We also represent parties in defending adjudication proceedings brought against them.
Mediation & Conciliation
Mediation is a non-binding form of dispute resolution when enables parties to explore settlement options with the aid of a neutral third party mediator.
Conciliation is a popular form of dispute resolution in Ireland. It is similar to mediation, but if the parties are unable to settle, the conciliator can issue a temporarily binding recommendation.
We act as party representatives in both mediation and conciliation.
Our staff are fully qualified adjudicators with both the RICS and ICE.
Adjudicators can be appointed in a number of ways, including by direct agreement between the parties when a dispute arises, or by naming the adjudicator in the contract upfront. Our staff are available for appointments using either mechanism. Please contact us for further details of our fixed price adjudication appointments.
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