Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr has launched a specialist Construction and Engineering Group to cater for the increasing global demand for legal expertise in this sector, especially with regard to construction-specific dispute resolution skills and the negotiating and drafting of construction contracts.
The Group comprises director Jurg van Dyk, assisted by associate Bianca Pollastrini, who focuses on construction and engineering contracting, Directors Joe Whittle and Sonia de Vries, assisted by Khaya Mantengu, who focus on dispute resolution and Adine Abro, supported by senior associate Jay Da Conceição, who has expertise in both construction and engineering contracting and dispute resolution. CDH's specialist construction team compliment, and are complimented by, CDH's extensive M & A, Competition Law, Environmental, Projects and Infrastructure and Finance and Banking expertise.
Jurg van Dyk explains that the Group offers particular expertise relating to all types of claims that arise from construction contracts, dispute resolution including mediation, arbitration and litigation; advice on aspects such as bonds and guarantees, risk mitigation, insurance and the impact of environmental legislation; as well as the drafting and negotiating of all forms of contractual documents whether bespoke contracts, or customising the suite of FIDIC, NEC 3 and JBCC contracts.
Joe Whittle points out that, “Disputes arise between contracting parties in a construction project are commonplace. Often the stakes are very high and attitudes harden, making mediation and arbitration a necessity. Generally speaking, disputes are resolved by way of either a combination of mediation and arbitration or directly by way of arbitration or a dispute adjudication panel. Construction disputes are not usually resolved in the courts.”
Adine Abro points out that, “A number of our partners within our new Construction and Engineering Group have advised on projects in African countries where infrastructural development has begun to accelerate. As a member of the DLA Piper Africa Group, we also have access to lawyers with local specialisation in key African countries.”
Whittle says that regulations recently published by the Construction Industry Development Board will have a marked effect on the construction and engineering sector.
The Group works closely with colleagues at DLA Piper global law firm to ensure access to best international practice in the construction sector. The Group’s reach extends to every type of construction project and delivery method and into all regions of the world. The Group also benefits from its membership of the DLA Piper Africa Group and as such as access to lawyers in Sub-Saharan Africa with local know-how and expertise.
“Construction and engineering legal work is a highly specialised field, it is therefore imperative that legal advisors in this sector are experts in their field, hence the formation of our highly specialised Group,” Whittle adds.