High levels of complexity, many moving parts, multiple stakeholders and a liberal dose of intense pressure; it is any wonder major/mega project delivery is an art, not a science.
Major project delivery requires carefully nuanced:
- Risk identification and management
- Robust project governance system design, processes and implementation
- Commercial due diligence
- Intelligent commercial negotiation, on a best-for-project basis
- Risk allocation and incentive design
- Preparation of suitable contract documentation
- Best-for-project contract administration
- Proactive issues management
- Audit and assurance to ensure value for money
- Relationship management
- Informal and formal dispute resolution
Our team has worked on some of the largest and most complex projects in the country, often on a fully embedded basis. Our experience spans most sectors, including aviation, mining, oil & gas, public infrastructure, commercial, residential and mixed use, master planned projects.
We provide project leadership enablement and collaborative embedded legal and commercial support to ensure our clients’ projects are delivered on time and on budget.
Some clients engage us for discrete parts of this process. Many partner with us for their entire project’s delivery.
Our experience spans all types of project delivery methods and cost models. We have worked seamlessly with some of the world’s leading project management and EPCM firms as members of our clients’ management teams.
Our team includes leading infrastructure, construction and procurement lawyers who advise project owners and major contractors and who prepare specialised contracts with appropriate risk allocations for the delivery of all types of major projects, including:
- Airport terminals and runways
- Dams and water storage
- Sporting stadia
- Mine expansions and new mine development projects
- Major equipment supply
- Dredging works
- Shiploader and export facility terminals
- Transport infrastructure
- Wind and solar farms
- Pumped-hydro power schemes
- Underground tunnelling and mine expansion
- Power stations
- Oil field services contracts
- Residential tower developments
- Major civil works
- Commercial developments
- Major house and land developments
- Mixed-use developments
Our team also includes some of the country’s most experienced major project dispute resolution lawyers who deal with project disputes requiring a formal response. They advise and resolve disputes in a strategic, best-for-project and effective way including, where necessary, via negotiation, mediation, adjudication, expert determination, litigation or arbitration.
We understand the ingredients to successful project delivery and provide support to our clients’ project leadership and management teams to see it achieved.
Our experience in detail
Our major project expertise is best described through the following phases of major projects:
- Initial project setup and tendering support
- Project execution support
- Project dispute resolution
Initial project setup and tender support
- Risk identification and management workshops to inform contractual risk allocations and contingency planning
- Contract preparation (including suites of contracts and down-stream subcontract flow downs for head contractor clients)
- Contract negotiation (commercial and legal negotiations)
- Tender process development and response
- Regulatory advisory: application of building legislation, licencing applications, appeals and advice, defence of regulatory action and strategic advice for lobbying and dealing with Federal and State regulators
Our team of specialist construction lawyers are skilled in drafting and negotiating the following types of Contracts and have done so for projects ranging from $5m to $6bn in value:
- Expressions of Interest (EOI)
- Requests for Tender (RFT)
- Construct Only (Australian Standards, Master Builders, ABIC, Bespoke, FIDIC and others)
- Design and Construct (D&C) (Australian Standards, Bespoke, FIDIC and others)
- EPC Non-Turnkey (Engineer, Procure, Construct) (Bespoke, FIDIC and others)
- EPC Turnkey (Engineer, Procure, Construct) (Bespoke, FIDIC and others)
- Design, Document and Construct
- Managing Contractor (Queensland Department of Housing and Public Works, Department of Defence, bespoke and other variants)
- Build Own Operate (BOO)
- Build Own Operate Transfer (BOOT)
- Consultancy Agreement
- Project Management Agreement
- Services Agreement
- EPCM (Engineering, Procurement, Construction Management)
- Supply and Manufacture
- Purchase Orders (Small, Medium and Long Form) for procurement of goods and services
Our team has deep cross-sector experience and expertise in all cost models including:
- Lump sum
- Schedule of Rates/Unit Rates
- Cost Reimbursable
- Target Cost (with pain and gain share)
- KPI incentive remuneration models
- Novel bespoke risk-sharing arrangements for project-specific risks
- Bespoke contracts with complex remuneration models including a combination of each of the above
Our non-legal talent can also provide contracts and procurement support to clients’ in-house capability to build tender packages for release to market, manage the process and assist in the evaluation of tender responses, if required.
Project execution support
For clients who value continued support to see them succeed with their major projects, our service does not stop when the contract is signed.
Our team regularly assists clients to deliver major projects throughout their execution:
- Commercial and legal issues resolution
- Proactive response to sub-optimal performance or insolvency of key supplier or contractors to recover project schedule, minimise impacts and defend ambit claims.
- We have acted for project owners and other contractors affected by the insolvency or failure of major contracts completing works on projects, are adept at dealing with liquidators and receivers and the strategic defence of ambit claims in this context.
- Contentious or critical contractual correspondence drafting or review to prosecute or defend claims
- Commercial positioning advice and drafting of important commercial correspondence/review between project parties
- Attendance at negotiations and issues resolution or investigation exercises including leading teams and deploying expert talent to work through complex project-related issues
- Proactive commercial risk identification and minimisation
We provide the above services externally or embedded as members of project delivery teams, often as embedded members of our client’s project leadership team and reporting directly to project directors and chief/general legal counsel.
Project dispute resolution
When issues arise on projects, no one is better equipped to manage high-stakes dispute resolution.
Our team has resolved disputes of all sizes for project owners, contractors and suppliers, ranging from disputes involving less than $1m in issue to many hundreds of millions of dollars in dispute, where success or failure of an entire project or a business hangs in the balance. This includes
- Delay and disruption claims, both prosecution and defence. We have acted for some of the largest clients in Australia to defend and prosecute complex delay and disruption claims, involving hundreds of millions of dollars, thousands of project documents and we work with some of the world’s leading delay and disruption expert witnesses to the our client’s case prosecuted or defended to the highest standard of skill;
- Defects and breach of contract claims. We have prosecuted some of the most complex engineering and construction disputes in the industry, many including many thousands of defects; yet most resolved pragmatically and astutely without years of litigation required. It does not take skill to litigate a complex claim for years. It does take skill to cut to the heart of the issue and resolve claims effectively.
- Security of Payment Act/BCIPA/BIF Act processes: payment claims, payment schedules, adjudication applications, adjudication responses, appeals from adjudicator error.
- Subcontractors’ Charges proceedings and the defence of improperly lodged charges.
We advise clients through all types of dispute resolution, in all jurisdictions throughout Australia:
- Expert Determination
- Tribunal hearings
- Liquidator’s examinations and government enquiries
We have built a network over many years of leading expert witnesses, Queens Counsel and Junior Counsel, across multiple jurisdictions, who are leading minds in their fields of expertise and highly effective at resolving otherwise intractable issues.