Projects & developments

User friendly, commercial and technically excellent

Our senior team of lawyers provide simple, pragmatic and commercial advice on all aspects of projects, developments and construction. Our clients include several universities throughout the country, a household name in construction, one of the world’s largest companies and institutional investors.
Our aim is to put ourselves in our client’s position and to deliver a real strategic perspective to the advice we give. Our principal hallmarks are:

  • a genuinely strategic and commercial approach;
  • high quality technical legal advice which is clear and practical; and
  • accessibility and responsiveness.

As an established specialist in large scale student residences with a growing presence in other project finance and PFI sectors, we understand the unique requirements of our clients and develop innovative structures and solutions to meet these.

What we do

Projects – all stages including market entry strategy, bid structuring, procurement, funding, construction and property.
Real estate – full range of property matters, including buying, selling and developing land, estates management, due diligence, conveyancing and landlord and tenant, environmental law.
Construction – full range of construction advice including drafting and negotiating professional consultant appointments, collateral warranties, third party rights, construction contracts (standard form including JCT, NEC, MF/1, ICC, IChemE and bespoke) deeds of novation and security. Capital projects, construction procurement and planning, FM, infrastructure, engineering and dispute resolution.
Public procurement – project planning, timetabling, market testing, OJEU notices, MOI, restricted, open, competitive with negotiation, competitive dialogue, PQQ/SQ, tender and procurement docs, evaluation sense check, award and standstill letters and advice, reviewing for compliance and help with challenging a decision or award.
State aid – whether you’re the proposed giver or recipient of a measure it’s always best to get a State aid check early on. We can give helpful pointers to avoid the issue or help you to restructure the proposed measure in a way which will make it compliant, avoiding the need for notification. We check ERDF and LEP funding applications to enable you to “tick the State aid box”.
Finance – all aspects of project finance, including senior debt, bond finance, mezzanine funding, subordinated debt, security and derivatives.

Examples of our lawyers' work

Projects

  • Advising a university on an £80 million project for the construction and operation of 1,400 residential units as part of the university’s wider campus development.
  • Advising the special purpose charitable vehicle set up to deliver a university’s £215 million student residence project, on the potential refinancing and restructuring of the student residence project.
  • Advising a university on maximising its position on the restructuring and refinancing of its £270 million student residences project.
  • Advising a university on its award winning £215 million development of 3,000 student bedrooms.
  • Advising a major plc construction group on a series of student accommodation developments.
  • Advising a university on its award winning academic collaboration to develop an Innovation Centre in partnership with a major plc.

(Contact Jason Poole)

Real estate

  • Advising on a large number of complex, high-profile urban regeneration and mixed use schemes throughout the UK (largely for local authorities and non-departmental government bodies).
  • Advising on a succession of significant real estate investment finance transactions. This has involved acting for both borrowers and lenders on sizeable financing deals for large portfolios of commercial properties (primarily involving the production and review of CLLS certificates of title).
  • Advising a number of educational institutions and private sector companies involved in the provision of educational services in relation to the management of their real estate assets.

(Contact Karen Schilder)

Construction

  • Drafting and negotiating NEC ECC and JCT contracts for a university client building academic buildings, a new library and student services centre and new student residences.
  • Advising a university on the procurement of its construction framework to deliver a £1bn campus transformation for the University.
  • Providing a client with procurement and construction advice as part of a multi-million pound development (advising on procurement strategy and drafting various building contracts, all based on JCT and ICC forms of contract). Advising on the interrelationship between various third-party designers and building contractors and on the practical interfaces between funders, designers and building contractors.
  • Drafting and advising public and private sector clients (employer/consultant/contractor) on use of NEC ECC, TSC (for FM) and PSC.
  • Advising a university on its proposed new accommodation campus including procurement advice, drafting construction suite of documents (JCT DB 2016 two-stage tendering) and construction framework advice.
  • Carrying out construction due diligence for an investment client acquiring a large commercial and retail site. Reviewing construction contracts for new build, refurbishment and tenant’s works, reviewing and obtaining assignment of or negotiating fresh collateral warranties for the client/purchaser.

(Contact Katherine Souter)

Public procurement

  • Advising a university in relation to a proposed real estate development land deal with an external development partner which included advising on the terms of the land deal and implications under the Public Contracts Regulations.
  • Advising a local authority on the procurement and state aid implications of a transaction to finance and acquire a long term property investment. Carrying out construction document due diligence and negotiating changes with the developer with its building contractor and professional team contracts.
  • Advising and drafting procurement and contractual documents for numerous universities on the procurement of multi supplier contractor and consultant frameworks.

(Contact Katherine Souter or Rebecca Quinn)

State aid

  • Advising an HE College on BIS grant funding for the construction of a business incubation centre, providing state aid advice, advising on restructuring of the project to minimise state aid risk, advising the project team on operating the capital project within the boundaries of the state aid rules and grant funding agreement.
  • Advising numerous universities and other grant applicants on ERDF, LEP and HEFCE funding for a range of projects including business start-up support, SME innovation, fundamental and experimental R&D and capital build projects. Advising on transaction and project restructuring to mitigate state aid risk, coordinating the review of funding agreements and advising on compliance with the state aid General Block Exemption and De Minimis regulations.

(Contact Katherine Souter)

Finance and forward funding

  • Advising on a cutting-edge finance project to develop, finance and operate a renewables to energy plant in Iceland.
  • Advising a senior lender on the provision of £215 million senior debt to fund a university student accommodation estate transfer of approximately 5,000 beds, together with the construction of additional student accommodation.
  • Advising a senior lender on the provision of £90 million senior debt to fund a university’s transfer and refurbishment of existing student accommodation to Uliving, a student accommodation partner.
  • Advising a private developer on a forward funded development of student accommodation and retail in Middlesbrough.
  • Advising a private developer on a major mixed-use redevelopment of a brown field site in Swansea to provide accommodation, commercial and retail space in conjunction with the City Council.

(Contact Jason Poole or Helen Bolton)