New Zealand’s construction industry is growing rapidly and is now one of the largest sectors in the New Zealand economy. Factors such as population growth, traffic congestion, and aging wastewater infrastructure are driving the demand for new housing, offices and factories, road and rail links, and water supply projects.
Construction projects are also becoming increasingly complex. Many involve multiple parties and complex procurement processes such as design-and-build and early contractor involvement (ECI) contracts.
We have New Zealand’s largest team of construction lawyers. They spend 100% of their time on construction and they have worked on many of New Zealand’s largest construction projects.
They can help you procure contracts, and advise you as the contracts are drafted to minimise your risk. They are also experts in solving construction disputes. They can help you develop a plan to resolve disputes as quickly and cost-effectively as possible.
CONSTRUCTION CONTRACT ADMINISTRATION
Inadequate procurement processes and poorly drafted construction contracts can derail any project, leading to added expense, time delays, and litigation. We have considerable experience advising on a range of large-scale joint venture projects and complex procurement structures. Our lawyers are familiar with standard form documentation, both in New Zealand and overseas.
- We acted as lead counsel in Pratt Contractors Ltd v Palmerston North City Council which is the leading case in tender law in New Zealand.
- We advised the NZ Transport Agency on their procurement manual that governs all land transport projects in New Zealand.
- We advised Auckland Transport on the procurement of many of their projects including City Rail Link enabling works, Auckland Manukau Eastern Transport Initiative, and road maintenance contracts.
CONSTRUCTION CONTRACTS ACT
We are leaders in the development of the law under the Act, having acted in numerous significant cases contributing to its interpretation.
Compliance with the Act has cash flow implications and reduces risk, but can be complicated. We appreciate that issues can occur at any stage of a project which is why we provide advice on all aspects of the law.
- We acted for a major contractor preparing and bringing an adjudication claim in relation to disputes arising from the final payment claim and significant deductions made by the Principal. The adjudication claim involved $15 million across over 500 individual disputes. The adjudication was successful with our client being paid $14 million following the determination.
- Regional council undertaking a stadium development. Successfully defeated a $1.7 million final account claim.
- International client on a petrochemical project. Claims totalling $90 million for delays, disruption and variations.
- International civil construction company received five adjudication claims for critical piling works as part of a State Highway 1 motorway widening contract.
Successful management of construction disputes calls for strategies that produce time-efficient and cost-effective outcomes. We act for local and international parties, including government, statutory bodies and territorial authorities, principals, consultants, contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, and insurers.
The impact of a leaky building on those affected goes far beyond financial concerns. This makes finding a pragmatic legal solution all the more important. We have advised on commercial and residential claims ranging up to $81 million, involving single dwellings, multi-unit complexes and subdivisions, and high-rise buildings:
- The Crown: pursuing and resolving over 600 leaky buildings claims throughout the breadth of New Zealand.
- Head contractor and an employee: Currently defending New Zealand’s biggest leaky home High Court proceeding, involving 330 apartments and damages of $81 million.
- Developers: Defending and achieving via mediated settlements favourable outcomes on 52 duplex residential homes, 42 terraced houses, commercial office buildings, and central city apartment buildings.
MAJOR BUILDING PROJECTS
When negotiating the complexities of a major building project, expert legal advice is the key to reaching milestones on time and within budget. We have acted, and continue to act, on many of this country’s landmark buildings. You will benefit from our skills and knowledge in negotiating, drafting, and advising on complex contracts to manage all aspects of your major project.
We have acted for:
- The Crown in negotiations with SkyCity for the New Zealand International Convention Centre. This included preparation of the project and licensing agreement, and advice around public law issues arising out of the project.
- On various hotel developments, advising on drafting construction contracts.
- Victoria University of Wellington advising on the preparation of ECI arrangements and contract documents for the development of its new 12,500m2 Te Toki a Rata building to provide leading science teaching, research and laboratory facilities.
The contract documentation required for energy projects is often industry-specific. We are experts with the standard forms currently used, and how they need to be adapted to follow New Zealand law and practice. We have worked on projects involving transmission and distribution networks, power station maintenance, and oil and gas exploration.
- We advised on the construction documentation for the Te Mihi geothermal power station, assisting with the contracts, subcontracts, and guarantee documents.
- We assisted with developing the construction document for the new gas storage facility at Ahuroa.
- We advised the main contractor on the FIDIC contracts for the construction of five electricity substations in Fiji.
We have advised New Zealand and overseas parties on a range of infrastructure projects in New Zealand, Australia, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, and the UK. We apply international best practice to New Zealand projects, and assist New Zealand clients with understanding practice overseas.
Our clients include international joint ventures, contractors and suppliers, and leading New Zealand-based contractors, consultants, and subcontractors.
Understanding all sides of these complex commercial structures enables us to provide thorough and effective advice.
We are at the forefront of advice in the social housing area. We advise both the public and private sector on the major projects being undertaken in New Zealand (including Housing Infrastructure Fund, major housing developments in Auckland, Tauranga, Christchurch, and Queenstown), whether using traditional procurement models or PPPs.
- Housing Infrastructure Fund and developments in South and North Auckland: We are advising Auckland Council and Auckland Transport in the funding and delivery of infrastructure to support major housing developments in South and North Auckland.
- Tamaki Regeneration: Large Scale Development: We are advising a developer and builder on this project.
- We are advising the NZ Transport Agency on its development agreements with developers in Auckland, Tauranga, and Queenstown to support major housing developments.
We are the only law firm on the NZ Transport Agency and Auckland Transport legal panels. We also act for major international and domestic roading contractors and consultants, advising on the major transport projects undertaken in New Zealand. Our lawyers have expertise in major capital works projects, maintenance contracts, and the procurement of land transport projects.
- State highway projects: NZ Transport Agency and major contractors on the major SH1 projects (including the Northern Corridor, ALPURT B2, Victoria Park Alliance, Greenlane widening, and Auckland Harbour Bridge), SH 20 (including the Waterview Connection and Causeway), SH16/18, the Waikato Expressway project, and the Wellington Urban RON.
- Local Roads: We have advised on Auckland’s major roading network including AMETI, Wynyard Quarter, the maintenance of Auckland’s roading network, including Auckland Transport on its contracts and the Auckland Motorway Alliance.
- New Zealand’s toll roads and PPPs – from advising the NZ Transport Agency on ALPURT B2 (the first toll roads under the Land Transport Management Act and Project K) to being part of the team advising the successful bidder on the Transmission Gully PPP, and a major contractor on its bid for the Puhoi to Wellsford PPP.
WATER AND WASTE INFRASTRUCTURE
We have advised local authorities and major contractors on a range of major projects.
- We advised on water treatment plants for a number of councils and major contractors.
- We advised the Ruataniwha Water Irrigation Project on an international design and construct contractor as preferred bidder for this $450 million water irrigation Build Own Operate Transfer scheme and dam.
- We advised Wellington Water on the construction of a major water supply reservoir.